A Ho Chi Minh City court sentenced 21 members of a credit account hacking ring on Wednesday for stealing credentials from foreign credit card holders and using the information to buy goods online for shipment back to Vietnam.
The gang leader Vuong Quoc Nha, 25, received the harshest penalty and will be serving a nine year prison term. Le Van Hao Hoa, 51, and Nguyen Thi Dieu Ni, 34, associates of the hacking ring, will serve eight and seven years, respectively.
According to the court records, the three members were charged with “using telecommunication to steal property.”
Another member, Nguyen Van Hoa, 25, will serve three years of probation for “providing information illegally via the Internet.”
The penalties for the remaining 17 members range from a non-custodial sentences to 2.5-years of imprisonment.
Some of the defendants were also required to pay fines ranging from VND10 million (US$448.4) to VND150 million ($6,726).
According to the indictment, Nha studied abroad in the United States in 2011 and later joined a hacker ring that specialized in obtaining the stolen personal data of credit card users in order to buy goods and resell them.
Nguyen Van Hoa, a university student in Ho Chi Minh City, was the credit account information supplier for Nha at that time.
Before being discovered, Hoa had been sent to several international computing competitions and had been invited to an international travel forum.
In 2009, Hoa wrote a software program that could capture the credit card information from the databases of online shopping websites in several countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States.
He then offered to sell the stolen credit card information for $1-$50 each, according to the indictment.
From January 2010 to September 2013, Hoa had sold 30,000 credit card accounts, worth a total of VND1.8 billion ($80,712), to Nha via a go-between.
The other ring members used the credit cards to buy nearly VND2 billion ($89,680) worth of goods.