Local man jailed in global cyber-crime crackdown

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A 20-year-old from San Diego was among two dozen people arrested around the world Wednesday as part of an international sweep targeting online identity theft and fraud, federal officials reported.

Mark “Cubby” Caparelli was taken into custody in San Diego this morning at the culmination of the two-year undercover investigation into so- called carding crimes, in which the Internet is used to exploit stolen personal data, including banking and credit-card information, according to the FBI.

The other suspects were captured across the United States and in 13 foreign countries, officials said.

The probe snared perpetrators of an array of cyber crime, according to investigators. Some allegedly sold credit cards by the thousands and took the private information of untold numbers of people, and others purportedly trafficked in malware, including viruses allowing voyeurs to hijack unsuspecting victims' personal-computer cameras.

The crackdown, dubbed “Operation Card Shop,” went after “sophisticated, highly organized cyber criminals involved in buying and selling stolen identities, exploited credit cards, counterfeit documents and sophisticated hacking tools,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice Fedarcyk.

Caparelli allegedly engaged in a so-called “Apple call-in” scheme in which he used stolen credit cards and social-engineering skills to fraudulently obtain replacement products from Apple Inc., which he then resold for profit.

According to federal investigators, Caparelli's scam involved obtaining serial numbers of Apple products he had not bought, then claiming they were defective, arranging with the company for replacements to be sent to an address he designated and providing a stolen credit card number to charge if he failed to return the supposedly defective items.

Caparelli allegedly sold and shipped four iPhone 4s he had stolen through the scheme to someone he believed to be a fellow carder, but who in fact was an undercover FBI agent.

Caparelli faces charges of wire and access-device fraud, and could be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted.


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