Man accused in TJX data breach pleads guilty

One of the 11 people arrested last month in connection with the massive data theft at TJX Companies Inc., BJ Wholesale Clubs Inc. and several other retailers pleaded guilty Thursday to four felony counts including wire and credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Damon Patrick Toey, is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 10 in U.S. District Court in Boston. He faces a maximum prison term of 5 years and a fine of US$250,000 on each of the counts. In addition, under the terms of the plea agreement, Toey has to forfeit all of the money he earned for his role in the data theft.

Toey was one of 11 alleged hackers arrested last month in connection with a series of data thefts and attempted data thefts at TJX and numerous other companies. Besides TJX and BJs, the list of publicly identified victims of the hackers includes DSW Inc., OfficeMax Inc., Boston Market, Barnes and Noble Inc., Sports Authority and Forever 21.

In a court filing yesterday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann said that there is "forensic and/or testimonial evidence" that Toey and his co-conspirators broke into "numerous" other business that have not been publicly identified. Heymann said he would be willing to submit the full list "in camera" to the court if needed.

The ID theft ring stole data involving more than 45 million payment cards, leaving 100 or so financial institutions vulnerable to losses from fraud, Sullivan said.

The breach was made public in January 2007 by Framingham, Mass.-based TJX, which later reported in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that 45.6 million credit card numbers were affected -- the largest such breach on record.

Developing story. More to come.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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