Computer Hacker Sentenced to 20 Years

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BOSTON - Albert Gonzalez, 28, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for organizing massive credit card theft from national retailers, including OfficeMax, Sports Authority, Barnes & Noble, and TJX, which operates TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

Among the charges are two counts of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers and to commit wire fraud.

Gonzalez, who has been in jail since his arrest in May 2008, pleaded guilty to a long list of theft charges, apologized to the court and his family.

"I'm guilty not only of exploiting computer networks, but personal relationships," Gonzalez said before hearing the sentence.

"I plead for leniency so that I can one day prove to [my family] that I love them, just as they love me," he said.

U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris said despite the defendant's remorse, she had to weigh the massive damage he caused, a prior arrest in 2003, and the fact that he committed the thefts while working as an informant for the Secret Service.

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The Boston Globe contributed to this report.

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