How to Steal a Million or Eleven Friends of Albert Gonzalez

During the investigation of “the largest and the most complex identity theft in the U.S. history” a Belarusian Sergey Pavlovich first came to the attention of the investigation. He was later found guilty to the sale of the stolen credit and debit card numbers for fraudulent use.

In 2008 a group of 11 people from different countries were charged with numerous crimes, connected with hacking of a number of retailers and stealing data of 200 million credit cards. The brain of the operations was Albert Gonzalez, who doubled as American intelligence agencies’ informer.

According to the American authorities, the losses caused by “11 friends of Gonzalez” exceeded a billion US dollars.

The book is based on real events and is written during its author’s 10-year prison sentence.

No man is rich enough to buy back his past.
Oscar Wilde

The most important criterion of a business is its profit,
and cybercrime is no exception.
Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and Co-Founder of Kaspersky Lab,
one of world’s leading cybersecurity experts


My wife believes this book was written for her. My mother thinks I’ve put my story on paper because I simply have to keep myself busy, and it was a helpful distraction, when I was in jail. My best friend is sure I must be crazy to be sharing that kind of information. He thinks that even jail can’t tame my hunger for fame, and I want to be remembered in the world that grows more and more delusive as days go by. My editor thinks I’m hoping for a pardon…

These people know me well enough, understand me, and sometimes even read my thoughts. And they’re all right in their different ways. But there is something else. The main thing is, this book is written for you and you only, my dear reader. I’m not that naïve and don’t believe that a dangerous cyber criminal like me with three serious felony convictions on my record, guilty all around, will simply get a pardon. And I’m not a hypocrite to write here that I deserve it.

I will spend 10 years in prison. My beautiful wife will most likely leave me. My much beloved grandfather, who brought me up, will die before I get out. My mother will age due to her grief rather than time. My friends will start seeing me as a ghost, someone they have nothing to discuss with. You don’t share joy from your child’s birthday or your summer trip with a ghost, it’s too awkward. I will also change, I will morph into a psycho with yellow skin and bad teeth. I will be a moral monster, stressed out, angry and violent. I can’t change what’s happened to my life. But your destiny can be different…

Events and people in this book are real. The way they are depicted, however, is my own and is therefore highly subjective. So are the conclusions and opinions. I’ve changed a few names and took some names away altogether. I’ve softened some things and embellished others – it’s something all authors do. It is completely up to you to decide if I can be trusted. That all being said, read and draw your own conclusions.


to be continued…

Sergey Pavlovich
Job Title
hacker, carder
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