Where is Hacker Albert Gonzalez Now?

When Netflix’s ‘Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies, and the Internet: The Stingray’ described Albert Gonzalez as a huge deal in the cybercrime and hacking community, they weren’t exaggerating. In fact, he was the ShadowCrew’s crime forum founder at one time in the 2000s. He also went on to become the greatest credit card thief of all time. So now, if you wish to learn more about the details of his life, his offenses, his sudden apprehension, his cooperation with the authorities, and his current whereabouts, we’ve got you covered.

Albert Gonzalez, who are you?

Albert Gonzalez was apparently born in Cuba but he grew-up in Miami, Florida with his family. He was actually an average kid until the 12th birthday when he received his first computer. From that point on, a fascination developed, and he began to explore every rabbit hole. The fact is that by 1995, the 14-year old was using his stolen bank card information on the dark web to purchase music, games and clothes before he could hack into NASA.

Image Credit: WIRED Magazine

Albert decided to go into cybercrime after he lost his computer privileges for six month. During his freshman year at Miami Dade College, he dropped out and learned the intricacies about the various software options. Then he moved on to identity theft cyberheists. After his 2003 arrest in New York for fraudulent ATM withdrawals, he decided to become a Secret Service informant and set up a trap to attract ShadowCrew. He rose through the ranks.

Once the forum was under Albert’s (screenname CumbaJohnny’s) possession in 2004, Operation Firewall was implemented to capture most of its leading members. The Secret Service was able to use his expertise in many cases and also invited him to speak at several seminars. Little did they realize, though, that he was still working as a hacker on the side — stealing customer databases from some of the most well-known corporations in America. Between 2005 and 2007, Albert gained access to 180,000,000 accounts and was able to steal 40,000,000 payment cards.

Where is Albert Gonzalez now?

Image Credit: WIRED Magazine

Albert Gonzalez, who had dubbed his criminal enterprise Operation Get Rich or Die Tryin’, was apprehended in May 2008, shortly after which he even directed officials to $1.2 million buried in his parents’ yard. In March 2010, Gonzalez was sentenced to 20-years plus one day federal prison with three years of supervision and a $25,000 fine on charges of conspiracy, computer theft, wire fraud, access device abuse, and aggravated ID theft.

During his sentencing hearing, Albert admitted he “deeply regrets” his actions, especially because they harmed the personal relationships he’d established. “Particularly one I had with a certain government agency…that gave me a second chance in life,” he said, referring to the Secret Service. “I blame nobody but myself.” Therefore, today, the 40-year-old convicted felon is incarcerated at the administrative/minimum-security Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. He is due to be released July 26, 2024, according to the latest writing.

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