Certegy guilty plea and Katrina fraud sentencing

Cybercrime offers thieves many different types of opportunities. Most never get caught.

It's always refreshing to hear when they do.

Two courtroom happenings worth noting:

 William Sullivan, 54, a former Certegy senior database administrator, pleased guilty to stealing customers' financial information and then selling it to a direct marketer. Sullivan, who faces 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, stole 2.3 million consumer records.

 Certegy, a check-cashing verification service, claims none of the information, most of which did include bank account numbers, was used to commit fraud - although a number of consumers said in online forums that they believed they became ID theft victims because of the theft.

 A class-action lawsuit filed against Certegy is still pending.

Meanwhile, two brother were sentenced to federal prison after they created a bogus website - www[dot]salvationarmyonline[dot]com - claiming to raise money on behalf of the Salvation Army for Hurricane Katrina victims.

Steven Stephens, 24, and brother Bartholomew Stephens, 27, were sentenced to 111 months and 105 months, respectively, on wire fraud and identity theft charges.

The two men, who registered the site just days after the devastating hurricane made landfall, collected $48,000 before their PayPal accounts - linked to their bank accounts - were frozen due to reports of fraud.

It's not uncommon to see a rush of domain registrations following any disaster. Many people end up just parking the sites, hoping they'll be able to cash in on the name. No content ever goes up.

But some people actually create a fraudulent site.

Web hosting providers are on the lookout but can't always catch them.

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