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Hacker faces charges for theft of 44,000 credit cards

A Dutch computer hacker made his first appearance in a US court on 11 June on a 14-count indictment, after he was caught marketing stolen credit card numbers on the Internet.

David Schrooten, 21, known in the online hacking community as "Fortezza," pleaded not guilty to federal computer hacking charges, according to the Associated Press.

Schrooten was arrested in Romania in March and charged with conspiracy, access device fraud, bank fraud, intentional damage to a computer and aggravated identify theft. He arrived in Washington, DC, on 9 June.

According to US Attorney Jenny Durkan, in just one transaction Schrooten trafficked in as many as 44,000 stolen credit card numbers, resulting in millions of dollars in financial institutions' losses. Durkan, chairwoman of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee on Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Enforcement, said Schrooten "has wrought havoc on victims and financial institutions around the world."

Schrooten's co-conspirator Christopher Schroebel, 21, of Maryland, hacked into the computers of two Seattle businesses and stole credit card information, according to the US Attorney's Office. Schroebel hacked into the point-of-sale computer in a Seattle restaurant and a Washington State restaurant supply store.

He stole at least 4,800 credit card numbers in 2011, working with Schrooten to build "carding websites" to make the stolen information available to criminals for fraud, Durkan's office said. According to the indictments, four Washington residents had their information stolen, which was used to commit bank fraud.

Schroebel was arrested in November, and pled guilty to US federal charges last month. His sentencing is scheduled on 10 August. Schrooten is scheduled back in court on 20 August. Seattle and federal authorities are continuing their investigation.

"Cybercriminals need to know, we will find you and prosecute you," Durkan said in a statement.