NEW YORK - At least 24 people were arrested in the United States and abroad in a US-led sting operation targeting cyber criminals buying and selling stolen credit card information, officials said Tuesday.
In a statement released by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), a man called Lee Jason Juesheng, 23, who is also known as "iAlert" and "Jason Kato" was arrested in Japan.
Lee, who is reportedly Singaporean, was charged with access device fraud, which has the maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
A spokesman from Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) told AsiaOne: "Our Embassy in Tokyo is in touch with the Japanese authorities, and awaiting confirmation on the alleged arrest of a Singaporean."
A Xinhua report says that the US has requested his extradition. US Attorney Preet Bharara said the probe uncovered "a breathtaking spectrum of cyber schemes and scams" spread across the United States, Canada and 11 other countries in Europe and Asia.
"Operation Card Shop" targeted "sophisticated, highly organized cyber criminals" involved in selling stolen identities and credit cards along with fake documents and sophisticated hacking tools, the FBI's assistant New York chief Janice Fedarcyk said.
The officials said the two-year operation began in June 2010, when the FBI established an undercover "carding forum," aimed at mimicking websites operated by criminals to buy and sell information such as account numbers.
The FBI site called "Carder Profit" was configured to allow US agents to record discussion threads and private messages, and to track those using the site through their IP addresses.
Because the FBI was able to warn those affected by compromised accounts, the operation "prevented estimated potential economic losses of more than $205 million," a statement by prosecutors said.
The FBI was also able to notify the credit card providers of more than 411,000 compromised credit and debit cards, and 47 companies, government entities, and educational institutions that their networks had been breached.