The Department of Justice has announced that 25-year-old Hieu Minh Ngo has been sentenced to 13 years in prison. His sentence was lighter than expected because he has cooperated with authorities to catch more identity thieves. His crime? He admitted hacking and illegally gaining access to databases belonging to the world’s largest data brokers and amassed the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of more than 200 million Americans.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ngo “used Internet marketplaces to offer for sale millions of stolen identities of U.S. citizens to more than a thousand cyber criminals scattered throughout the world” from his home in Vietnam. His sale of this information has reportedly resulted in the filing of false tax returns with the IRS. The IRS has confirmed that 13, 673 American citizens’ personal information was used to file fraudulent tax returns totaling $65 million.