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Credit card fraudster who helped Russia gets 150 months in prison

The Justice Department scored another victory Thursday in its efforts to bring down a global cyber crime ring that stole credit card data and fabricated IDs, causing tens of millions of dollars in consumer losses.

Jermaine Smith will serve 150 months in federal prison and pay $50.8 million in restitution after pleading guilty in October to charges he had helped run Carder.su, the site behind the fraud scheme.

Smith was living in East Orange, N.J., before his arrest, 

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“Managers in Russia seamlessly ran their criminal enterprise online using, among others, a counterfeit card vendor from New Jersey, with whom they communicated through screen name aliases,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement.

Smith was that vendor. He confessed to defrauding at least 250 victims for a total of $7 million to $20 million, using the 2,150 stolen credit and debit card account numbers.

Authorities tracked Smith down in Jamaica after he fled the country while released on bond awaiting trial.

Carder.su’s existence dates back over five years. The forum’s stolen credit card data and forged identification cards were used to commit “money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and various types of computer crime,” according to the Justice Department.

“Criminal cyber organizations like Carder.su threaten not just U.S. citizens, but people in every corner of the globe,” Caldwell said.

So far, the department has charged 56 individuals for their role in Carder.su. Half of those have been convicted, while the other are either fugitives or pending trial.

Several weeks ago, the State Department offered two rewards totaling up to $3 million for information on two alleged Carder.su operators thought to be in Russia.

“These criminals may believe they can escape detection by fleeing the country and hiding behind their computer screens, but as this case shows, cyberspace is not a refuge from justice," said Michael Harris, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official.