[IMGCAP(1)]

The alleged architect behind the data breaches that stole millions of dollars from banks and credit unions agreed last week to plead guilty to stealing credit card information from TJX Cos. among other retailers. Albert Gonzalez faces 15 to 25 years in prison under the agreement.

Gonzalez, who has been in federal custody in Brooklyn, N.Y., for a year, worked as a federal informant after he was arrested in 2003 for helping organize an online credit card fraud ring that sold credit union and bank card information online, reports Collections & Credit Risk sister publication Credit Union Journal.

He has agreed to forfeit more than $2.8 million in cash, a condominium in Miami, a 2006 BMW automobile, laptop computers, a Glock 27 firearm, a cell phone, a Tiffany diamond ring, and three Rolex watches, according to a filing with the U.S. District Court in Boston on Friday.

Gonzalez has been charged in connection with the breaches at TJX, Heartland Payment Systems, Hannaford Bros., 7-Eleven Inc., Sports Authority, Barnes & Noble, BJ's Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Forever 21 and DSW Inc. The plea agreement comes two weeks before Gonzalez was scheduled to go on trial for his role in hacking into the computer system at Dave & Buster's, a national amusement chain.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry