Texas man gets 5 years for stealing from PayPal accounts in wire fraud scheme

An Austin man was sentenced to five years in prison for purchasing and stealing from over 38,000 compromised PayPal accounts over three years.

Marcos Ponce, 37, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in October 2021. In addition to his prison sentence, he will also serve three years of supervised release and pay $1.4 million in restitution

According to court documents, from at least November 2015 through about November 2018, Ponce and his co-conspirators worked to establish buyer accounts on a particular illegal online marketplace, referred to as Marketplace A, which functioned as an illegal market for stolen payment account credentials and associated personal information.

Through this marketplace, the co-conspirators purchased over 38,000 stolen PayPal account login credentials. 

Ponce and his co-conspirators then developed social engineering techniques in order to trick unwitting third parties into accepting money transfers from the compromised PayPal accounts, and then transferring the money into accounts controlled by members of the conspiracy, according to court documents.