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

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?