Colombian man pleads guilty to computer fraud

A Columbia man pleads guilty to an ID theft scheme targeting personal information on computers in hotel business centers.

A Colombian man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a 16-county indictment involving an identity theft scheme in which he installed keylogging software on hotel business center computers and Internet lounges in order to steal passwords, account data and other personal information, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

The computer fraud scheme had more than 600 victims worldwide, including U.S. Department of Defense employees, the DOJ said. Mario Simbaqueba Bonilla, 40, used money obtained in the scheme to buy expensive electronic devices, including a home theater system, and to fund luxury travel to Hong Kong, France, Jamaica, the U.S. and other locations, according to a DOJ news release and the indictment in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Simbaqueba Bonilla, sometimes working with a co-conspirator, used a series of complex computer intrusions to steal money from payroll, bank and other accounts, the DOJ said. Much of the identity theft activity targeted U.S. residents, including employees of the Department of Defense.

Simbaqueba Bonilla used the data he intercepted from his victims, who were typically guests at hotels throughout the U.S., to steal or divert money from their accounts into other accounts he had created in the names of other people he had victimized in the same way, the DOJ said. Through a complex series of electronic transactions designed to cover his trail, Simbaqueba Bonilla would transfer the stolen money to credit, cash or debit cards and have the cards mailed to himself and others at Pak Mail and other commercial mailing addresses.

Federal agents arrested Simbaqueba Bonilla when he flew into the U.S. in August.

Simbaqueba Bonilla was flying on an airline ticket purchased with stolen funds, and had in his possession a laptop also purchased with stolen funds, the DOJ said. That laptop contained the names, passwords and other personal and financial information of more than 600 people.

R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, warned travelers to think twice before entering personal information on a public computer.

"Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case," Acosta said in a statement. "The Internet is an outstanding tool, but it is vulnerable. Criminals like Bonilla use the Internet to steal our banking and personal data, and then our money."

The DOJ was assisted in the investigation by the Department of Defense, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?