'Western Express' credit-card fraud prosecution ends

Fifteen people have been convicted in the $5 million cybercrime ring

The last member of a $US5 million global credit-card fraud ring was sentenced on Thursday in New York state court, ending an eight-year investigation and prosecution.

Douglas Latta, 40, was sentenced to between 22 and 44 years in state prison, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. in a news release on Thursday. He was part of a wide-ranging scheme that stole and sold more than 95,000 credit card numbers online as part of a group known as the "Western Express."

Latta was one of 15 individuals, some of whom were from Russia and Moldova, convicted. In June, 27-year-old Egor Shevelev was found guilty of grand larceny, money laundering and other charges. He was accused of being one of the premier vendors of credit card data, peddling more than 75,000 of the credit card numbers through online forums out of his apartment in Ukraine and garnering millions of dollars, prosecutors said.

Shevelev, who was extradited to the U.S. from Greece in 2008, was sentenced to between 13 and 40 years in a New York state prison. Latta was accused of buying 800 credit card numbers from Shevelev.

Working with Anna Ciano, Latta used the stolen information to forge credit cards that were used to purchase high-ticket items such as Apple products, handbags and video game consoles, which were then sold, prosecutors said. Ciano, 41, was sentenced to between 19 and 47 years.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

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