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First arrests made in Heartland breach frauds
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (2/18/09)--The first three arrests in a major theft ring have been made in connection with fraud stemming from the Heartland Payment Systems data breach announced in January. A number of credit unions throughout the nation had to reissue their members' credit and debit cards due to the what may be the largest data breach in history. Three men--Tony Acreus, Jeremy A. Frazier and Timothy Johns--were arrested Feb. 10 in Tallahassee, Fla., and charged with multiple counts of credit card fraud, police said creditcards.com Feb. 16 and SCMagazine.com Feb. 13). According to Leon County Sheriff's Office, the three allegedly used credit card information stolen from Heartland's records to electronically encode Visa gift cards. The gift cards were then used to make fraudulent purchases at local area businesses, including several Wal-Mart Stores in Tallahassee. The merchandise purchased with the fake cards was then sold for cash. The sheriff's office said total and declined fraudulent transactions were more than $100,000. However, the fraudulent charges are expected to be much higher and more arrests likely will be made in Florida and nationwide as the investigation continues. Authorities are investigating how the men obtained the data. It is not believed that they are the people responsible for the malicious software that sniffed the data from Heartland. John Maloni, a spokesman for the Princeton, N.J.-based Heartland Payment Systems, told The Tuscaloosa News Friday that the company won't know the number of accounts affected until it completes its forensic investigation in the next few weeks.


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