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NEWARK, N.J. -- 7-Eleven Inc. was among more than a dozen companies that were the target of one of the largest alleged data breaches ever uncovered in the United States.
According to court documents unsealed today, five men living in Russia and the Ukraine allegedly stole more than $300 million from several companies, including 7-Eleven, Visa Inc., NASDAQ, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and JetBlue Airways.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the alleged scheme ran from 2005 until 2012, during which time the accused were able to gain access to computer systems and make huge profits from stolen credit cards and identity information.
The first criminal charges, which included carrying out a computer-hacking conspiracy, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and unauthorized computer access, were originally filed in 2009, but it took four years for a Newark, N.J., court to unseal the documents. The case is U.S. v. Drinkman, 09-cr-00626, U.S. District Court of New Jersey.
The five men -- Vladimir Drinkman, Aleksandr Kalinin, Roman Kotov, Dmitry Smilianets and Mikhail Rytikov -- conspired in a "worldwide scheme that targeted major corporate networks, stole more than 160 million credit card numbers and resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses," Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney in New Jersey, said in a statement.
The five defendants allegedly worked with Albert Gonzalez, a hacker currently serving 20 years in prison. He was sentenced in March 2010 for stealing 130 million credit- and debit-card records from 7-Eleven, Heartland Payment Systems, Delhaize Group's Hannaford Brothers Co. and two unidentified national retailers, according to a report by Bloomberg. Two of the five defendants are currently in custody. The others are considered fugitives.
Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. operates, franchises or licenses more than 10,110 7-Eleven stores in North America.