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FBI arrests alleged Internet identity thief

January 27, 2006

Jeffrey Brett Goodin of Azusa, Calif., allegedly tricked his victims, all America Online subscribers, by sending e-mails urging them to 'update' their AOL billing information or lose their service.

Goodin, 45, allegedly sent thousands of e-mails to America Online users claiming he was an employee from the Internet service provider's billing department, according to Brian Hoffstadt, Assistant US Attorney in the Los Angeles Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section.

The bogus mailings prompted AOL subscribers to update the billing information of their accounts, and included a link to a fake AOL website where they were persuaded to input personal and payment details, including credit and debit card data.

Goodin is said to have illegally used the payment card details he farmed from his victims.

Ontario, Calif., police investigated the original case against Goodin in June, said Ontario Police Lt. John Evans.

The FBI and Secret Service took over after it was discovered Goodin may have had victims in several other states including Virginia and Georgia, Evans said.

Several computers seized from Goodin's residence on June 30, 2005 contained more than 100 profiles with credit card numbers, account numbers, and names and addresses. Authorities do not know how much money the phishing scheme cost customers.

A detention hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m., Friday. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 9 and a post-indictment arraignment for Feb. 13. He is charged with wire fraud and the unauthorized use of an access device (a credit card). If convicted of both offenses, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.

"Clearly, AOL is pleased by today's action," Nicholas Graham, AOL spokesman, said in a statement. "We worked cooperatively with law enforcement on this case as part of our successful ongoing efforts to crack down on phishing and identity theft."





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