Chirag Patel, a 38-year-old Indian-origin hacker residing in Virginia, has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for his involvement in computer fraud. Patel pleaded guilty to the charges and received a 51-month prison sentence from US District Judge G Murray Snow.
Following his incarceration, Patel will also be subjected to three years of supervised release. Additionally, he has been ordered to pay US $87,522.25 in restitution, according to the US Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona.
According to the court documents, Patel hacked the computer systems of a Phoenix-based international hospitality company over a period spanning from August 2017 to July 2020. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that Patel conducted multiple unauthorised intrusions into the company's computers. He engaged in fraudulent activities such as transferring and redeeming customer reward points from the company's loyalty program. Furthermore, Patel unlawfully obtained credit card numbers and personally-identifying information (PII) of customers and loyalty program members, which were stored within the company's computer systems.
To gather the stolen information, Patel took screenshots containing credit card numbers and other PII from customers and loyalty program members. These screenshots were then saved to a Google Drive account under his control. The FBI investigation uncovered that Patel had amassed over 1,200 credit card numbers during his hacking spree between August 2017 and July 2020. He utilized some of the stolen credit card numbers to make unauthorized purchases and also attempted to sell a portion of the pilfered data.