Texas man sentenced to 5 years in prison for purchasing stolen PayPal accounts

WASHINGTON (KTRK) -- On Wednesday, a Texas man was sentenced to five years in prison for participating in a scheme to buy compromised PayPal accounts to steal money from the rightful account holders.

The video above is from a previous report.

Marcos Ponce, 37, from Austin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in October 2021.

According to court documents, from November 2015 to November 2018, Ponce and his co-conspirators worked to establish buyer accounts from an illegal online marketplace called Marketplace A.

Marketplace A operated as an illegal market for stolen payment account credentials and PII or personal identifying information. The co-conspirators bought over 38,000 compromised PayPal accounts.

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Ponce and the others then developed a social engineering technique to trick unknowing third parties into accepting money transfers from the compromised accounts, then transferring the funds into accounts that the conspirators controlled.

"The Justice Department remains firmly committed to protecting the American people from fraudsters like this defendant," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. "May the sentencing send a clear message to would-be thieves. There are real-world consequences for online crimes."

U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas said that this would send the message that the FBI will pursue cybercriminals all across the globe.

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In addition to serving prison time, Ponce is ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution and will have three years of supervised release.
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