The hackers broke into the wireless computer networks of nine major American retail stores, stealing the numbers from credit and debit cards. The US attorney general, Michael Mukasey, says the data was then stored on computer servers in the US and Eastern Europe. The alleged co-conspirators included three US citizens and residents of Estonia, Belarus, China and the Ukraine.
"This is the single largest and most complex identity theft case that's ever been charged in this country," said US Attorney General Michael Mukasey. "We've charged a total of 11 people including residents of at least five different countries," he said. The scheme was allegedly spearheaded by a man in Miami who's now facing life in jail if convicted of all the charges.