back to article Cops cuff teenage 'Robin Hood hacker' suspected of peddling stolen info

Spanish cops have arrested a 19-year-old suspected of stealing records belonging to half a million taxpayers and developing a database to sell stolen information to other cyber criminals. José Luis Huertas, better known as Alcasec, has been described as the "Robin Hood hacker" and a "dangerous computer criminal."  According …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "This includes impersonating and stealing 300,000 euros"

    Wow, anyone that can make themselves look like 300,000 Euros definitely has some skill. I'm guessing he had an accomplice, otherwise how did he deposit himself into a vault to steal the 300,000?

    1. Davegoody

      Yeh I read that the same way too. Great minds think alike (or fools never differ - you choose)......

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It appears to have been lost in translation, it should say he stole Paolo Vasile's identity and used that to relieve him of €300,000.

    3. Jonathan Richards 1

      The lost art of punctuation

      All would have been clear and proper English with the addition of two commas:

      This includes impersonating, and stealing 300,000 euros from, Paolo Vasile ... [spurious currency conversions omitted].

      And about that currency thing. Why £, $ without specifying which dollars, and spelling euros instead of €?

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: The lost art of punctuation

        Maybe he actually stole 300,000 actual euro coins?

        1. Jonathan Richards 1
          Thumb Up

          Re: The lost art of punctuation

          Well, maybe. 300,000 coins each with a value of €1 would weigh 2.25 metric tons, which is a pretty heavy heist. €2 coins are 13% heavier.

  2. trevorde Silver badge

    Lesson 1

    Huertas "led a life of luxury inappropriate for someone his age and without work activity: he made expensive trips, wore exclusive brands, frequented fashionable leisure and restaurant venues, and even drove a high-speed vehicle,"

    If you're a criminal, don't act like one.

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: Lesson 1

      IIRC - Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) - Superman III

    2. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Lesson 1

      People never learn from Al Capone. You can do whateve rother crimes you like, but stiff the Tax Authorities and they will bring you down...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lesson 1

        "People never learn from Al Capone. You can do whatever other crimes you like, but stiff the Tax Authorities and they will bring you down..."

        Unless you are in the UK and they will give you Billions of £'s for covid support even if the company was created yesterday !!!

        Then not bother to attempt to recover the money that had been defrauded as it is 'too much bother' to try !!!

        I kid you not .....

        1. LogicGate Silver badge

          Re: Lesson 1

          The trick is to BE (the boss of) the tax authorities, and the met police and and and...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lesson 1

          To the down voter ......

          HMRC (UK Tax Authorities) have been sending tax bills for 11,000 Chinese companies to a Cardiff address that had been registered for VAT.

          The address was, of course, the address of an innocent man ....

          He had to get a BBC consumer programme involved to get the HMRC to act to recognize the fraud !!!

          (He had Debt collectors sending him letters etc )


          Still impressed by the HMRC !!!???

          1. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

            Re: Lesson 1

            I'm hesitant to defend HMRC, but it's really the fault of the politicians. Funding for tax fraud investigations is derisory, and the case of the guy getting thousands of letters is due to a half baked change in law. Loads of Chinese sellers were avoiding tax on sales via sites like eBay and Amazon Marketplace, so the law was changed to force those sites to collect the tax. A blindingly obvious flaw was left - register as a UK based business and you can avoid the tax. Since no systems are in place to check addresses of company registrations, the Chinese sellers simply registered as UK companies using any address. Since many genuine firms use a shared registered address, it wasn't immediately obvious what was going on when the tax demands were sent out once HMRC cottoned on to the Chinese sellers' tax avoidance.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Lesson 1

              FWIW, the flaw makes it easier to *evade*, not avoid the tax. Avoiding a tax is legal, evading it is not. Those Chinese companies are collecting the VAT as part of the payment and then NOT paying the tax to HMRC. So, not a loophole as such since that implies it's legal to squeeze through the loophole if you have the knowledge and resources to use it. If registered as a UK based business, they become fully liable for VAT collection and payments. The flaw is in how easy it is register a UK based company with little to no oversight. HMRC have no control over that and, as you rightly point out, have very little budget to chase after 11,000 tiny Chinese companies with no presence or assets in the UK.

              I'm actually more surprised that some Chinese scammer managed to con 11,000 Chinese companies into registering through his/her scheme and then use the SAME address for all of them. A few minutes on the web would have produced millions of valid UK addresses making it simple to use a unique address for each registration and allowed this scheme to likely run for years under the radar.

    3. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Lesson 1

      What is the purpose then?

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Lesson 1

        I'd quite enjoy having a lot of extra money, without needing to live an extravagant lifestyle. No worries about budgeting. Buy a few more things here and there – small things, maybe a vintage project car at the upper end. My wife could retire immediately rather than waiting a few more years. Modest gifts to friends and family members. When the grandkids reach college age, help them with the cost of schooling. Charitable contributions. An annual vacation to a quiet spot – lakeshore or national park or the like. Maybe every few years a trip overseas, but at a normal tourist budget, just to experience something new.

        There are plenty of ways to spend money without being a ass about it.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Lesson 1

      Drove a high-speed vehicle? Horrors!

      What sort of vehicle that you "drive" isn't a "high-speed" one these days? Hell, even my 1992 Toyota pickup can get going fast enough to do serious damage.

      My Spanish isn't good enough to guess whether this is an artifact of translation or just a ridiculous euphemism. Police forces do have great affection for the latter.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Lesson 1

        Don’t worry, they also charged him with “stepping on the cracks in the pavement”, “looking at me in a funny way”, and “being in possession of an offensive wife”.

  3. CommonBloke

    Remember, kids

    Crime pays until you mess with the wrong people.

    Who are the wrong people? Those that have enough money to pester authorities after your glutes

  4. Uk_Gadget

    There is a future in Scottish Politics for him...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    they caught him, doesn't mean anything

    they will only fine him a small portion of his stolen funds, give him a little more than grounding/detention for less than a year - so he can find a god and get in shape. then he's fee to live off of others again. The world is broken and there is no fix.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The eleventh commandment "Don't brag".

  7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    led a life of luxury...

    "led a life of luxury inappropriate for someone his age and without work activity: he made expensive trips, wore exclusive brands, frequented fashionable leisure and restaurant venues, and even drove a high-speed vehicle," "

    First, he's young and inexperienced in the way of the world, so yeah, he's gonna show off his bling. On the other hand, there's an awful lot of "internet influencers" visibly living that kind of life with little obvious means of earning that kind of money too. Just having money with no obvious source of income doesn't mean it's a given the person is a criminal these days. I'd assume the cops did a bit more investigating than the article implies.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Designer duds, not prince of thieves?

    "Luxury cars and designer duds don't seem very prince of thieves"

    Robin Hood was all about his designer duds. As much as I can be about folklore characters from many lifetimes ago, I'm pretty sure Robin Hood's collection of Lincoln green attire for his band of merry men wasn't off-the-rack. That said, there seems to be some disagreement whether he was clothed in Lincoln green himself, or scarlet.

    1. JohnTill123

      Re: Designer duds, not prince of thieves?

      Unless ALL the Sheriff's minions were red/green colour-blind, it's probably a Bad Idea to go flouncing about Sherwood Forest in scarlet tights. Such colouration attracts arrows...

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