Italian police arrest hacker sought for fraud

Fabrizio Iannelli is said to have links to organized crime

Italian police Friday arrested an alleged hacker with links to organized crime in the Naples area who is accused of defrauding banks and mobile phone operators out of several million dollars.

Fabrizio Iannelli, 33, was arrested on arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Airport after being expelled from Thailand, Michele De Capola, deputy director of the operations unit of the Naples postal police, said in a telephone interview.

Police had succeeded in intercepting Iannelli's communications and tracked him down to the Thai island of Koh Samui, De Capola said.

Iannelli allegedly collaborated with Camorra (Naples Mafia) organizations in the Scampia and Vasto Arenaccia areas of Naples to hack into the Web sites of online businesses. He then exploited the details of credit cards used to pay for purchases to make purchases himself or to switch funds onto payment cards that were then used to withdraw money from bank ATMs, De Capola said.

"He also bought SMS packets that were transferred to prepaid SIM cards. He defrauded banks and mobile phone operators," the Naples police officer said. "He was a very skillful hacker and understood the rules of electronic commerce and mobile telephony."

Iannelli was the only person to escape a police sweep that rounded up 41 of his alleged accomplices last October. He initially fled to Eastern Europe and then to the Far East.

De Capola said Italian police arranged for his expulsion from Thailand after a two-year investigation into his alleged online crimes.

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