SYDNEY, Australia, and BUCHAREST, Romania (11/30/12)--An international syndicate based in Romania, and which allegedly committed the largest theft of credit card data in Australia's history, was busted this week.
Seven arrests were made among the 16 people picked up by the Australian National Police and Romanian National Police. Among those picked up was international martial arts and Greco-Roman wrestling champion Gheorghe "The Carpathain Bear" Ignat, said Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) News and Herald Sun (Nov. 29).
Authorities allege that Ignat had traveled to Australia and had a hand in creating fake credit cards from stolen credit-card details. However, he was not placed under arrest.
The gang allegedly accessed more than 100 small retail outlets and stole the personal information of 500,000 credit card holders in Australia. So far, about 30,000 of the cards were used to make fraudulent purchases of more than $30 million.
Thousands of counterfeit transactions have been made in Europe, Hong Kong, Australia, and the U.S., said authorities (The Advertiser Nov. 30). Agencies in 13 other countries were involved in the 18-month investigation, said ABC News.
Australian banks and credit unions have already reimbursed consumers for the losses. Louise Petschler, CEO of Abacus Australian Mutuals, the trade association for the nation's credit unions and a member of the World Council of Credit Unions, told The Advertiser that the arrests showed how cybercrime had evolved into a global enterprise. "We all have a role to play to ensure credit card transactions are safe and secure," she said.