Max Ray Vision, aka "Iceman," pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of wire fraud stemming from the theft of nearly 2 million credit card numbers and $86 million in alleged fraudulent purchases.
Vision faces up to 60 years in prison when he is sentenced in October in federal court in Pittsburgh, according to federal public defender Michael Novara.
Vision was arrested in September 2007 and accused of operating an underground forum called "Carders Market" where cybercriminals bought and sold stolen credit card numbers and other data. He was targeted as part of a sting operation in which FBI agent J. Keith Mularski spent two years undercover infiltrating a group of cyberscammers who bought and sold stolen credit card numbers on a rival site called "Dark Market."
In an interview with CNET News in May, Mularski talked about Vision, whose last name used to be Butler:
There are a lot of guys who I think their curiosity just got the best of them and it led them down a dark path. One of the guys, Max Butler, who ran our rival site called Carders Market and used the hacker name "Iceman," was arrested in San Francisco. He was very intelligent. He could have been an excellent security expert.
Vision had worked as a security consultant before being arrested.
In a statement to the court, Novara said:
"Max has always preferred using his extraordinary computer skills--his computer vision--for the good of society and the cyberworld, and he hopes that he will be given the opportunity in the future to once again don the white hat."