Two British kids have been jailed for five years for running a $26 million social notworking site for criminals.
According to AP Ghostmarket.net was the brain child of Nick Webber, 19, and Ryan Thomas, 18, and was a forum where up to 8,000 members exchanged details about thousands of stolen credit cards and used the information to defraud banks and shops internationally.
More than 65,000 hacked bank accounts was also shared on the site which was dubbed Crimebook by the local press.
In sentencing the pair Judge John Price of Southwark Crown Court in London, said the fraud was on a “massive scale”.
He said that Crimebook was a criminal enterprise offering sophisticated advice on how to hack into computers, cause them to malfunction and retrieve personal information from computers – and how to do it on a massive scale.”
It was only the fact that Webber and Thomas were still under 20 that they did not get a longer stretch.
Webber and Thomas were there when coppers popped around for a word about the site in October 2009. It was not the site which had attracted Inspector Knacker’s attention, but more the fact that they tried to use the details of a stolen credit card to pay for a £1,000 hotel bill.
Inspector Knacker found 100,000 stolen credit card details on Webber’s laptop and traced it back to the GhostMarket.net site.
The pair made matters worse for themselves by jumping bail and going to Majorca in Spain. While there Webber spent his time taunting coppers. Thomas was re-arrested in early 2010 after returning to the UK.
The court heard how Webber was an “extremely experienced computer hacker” and the leader of the gang behind the website. He was also the son of the former Guernsey politician Anthony Webber who did not know that his son was involved in any illegal activity.
Thomas was the site mod.
The gang included 21-year-olds Gary Kelly and Shakira Ricardo, who were jailed for five years and 18 months.
Thomas and Webber pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make or supply articles for use in fraud, encouraging or assisting offenders, and conspiracy to commit fraud. Conspiracy is a powerful charge – if you breathe together about anything you can get banged up for a very long time.