Breach, Threat Management, Data Security, Vulnerability Management

Gonzalez pleads guilty to Heartland, Hannaford, 7-11 hack

Updated on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009 at 12:35 p.m. EST

Retail hacker Albert Gonzalez on Tuesday was back in court, where he admitted to conspiring to hack into the networks of Heartland Payment Systems and several other companies.

Gonzalez, 28, of Miami, pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in hacking into the payment card networks of Heartland, 7-Eleven and Hannaford Bros. supermarket chain to steal more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers, according to court documents. He faces between 17 and 25 years in prison, which will run concurrently to his sentencing in two other pending cases

In court on Tuesday, Gonzalez expressed remorse for his crimes, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

“He is sorry,'' Gonzalez's lawyer, Martin Weinberg, said in court, according to the story. “He has a desire to put this behind him.''

Weinberg did not immediately respond to a request for comment from

Gonzalez is currently being held in Boston in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 19.

Separately, he pleaded guilty in September to federal charges of conspiracy, computer fraud, access device fraud and identity theft for infiltrating several other major retail chains. He admitted to stealing more than 40 million credit card numbers from TJX, which owns T.J. Maxx; Barnes & Noble; BJ's Wholesale Club; Boston Market; DSW; Forever 21; Office Max and Sports Authority.

Gonzalez faces up to 25 years in prison for these charges, and was expected to be sentenced earlier this month. Federal court Judge Patti Saris agreed to delay sentencing until March 18 after a psychiatrist determined that Gonzalez has a developmental disorder called Asperger's syndrome and may not have known he was committing a crime.

As part of a third pending case, he also is scheduled to be sentenced the same day for his role in hacking into the network of Dave & Buster's restaurant chain and stealing credit and debit card numbers from at least 11 locations, charges to which he pleaded guilty in September. He faces up to 20 years in prison for these charges.

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