Max Ray Vision, a mastermind computer hacker was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison today and ordered to pay $27.5 million in restitution for stealing more than a million bank and credit card numbers. Vision, formerly named Butler, at one time voluntarily cooperated with the FBI. But he turned to hacking the kinds of systems he once helped protect and according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke Dembosky, credit card companies Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover attributed more than $86 million in fraudulent purchases to credit card numbers found in Vision’s possession. Vision’s attorney Michael Novara noted that Vision saw less than a million dollars in personal financial gain.
The 13-year sentence is the longest sentence handed down for hacking in the United States to date. In a Federal courtroom in Pittsburgh, U.S. District Judge Maurice Cohill asked Vision if he had anything to say on his own behalf and Vision explained that he got caught up in the thrill of hacking, but had changed and no longer found it appealing. Novara called the sentence excessive for someone like Vision whose talents could be used for the greater good.
Dembosky says it was a four year effort to infiltrate the criminal network and identify and move in on Vision. He called the sentence bittersweet because of the waste of Vision’s intellect and talent, and the importance of bringing a measure of justice to the victims. He hopes Vision uses his gifts to benefit other people as he has done at times in the past. It has been intimated that Vision is cooperating with other federal investigations.