A 27-year-old Romanian man was sentenced to 21 months in prison yesterday after admitting he was part of a group that stole payment card data from hundreds of computers belonging to merchants in the US.

Cezar Butu, of Ploiesti, Romania, pleaded guilty in September in US District Court in New Hampshire to one count of conspiracy to commit access fraud. Prosecutors alleged Butu was part of a group that hacked into the payment systems of merchants as part of a multimillion-dollar scheme, stealing stored payment card details.

Butu admitted to obtaining payment card data for 140 cardholders and attempting to use the card details or transfer funds from the victims' accounts between 2009 to 2011, according to the US Department of Justice.

A co-conspirator, Iulian Dolan, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, the DOJ said. Dolan has agreed to seven years in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 4.

A third alleged co-conspirator, Adrian-Tiberiu Oprea, is scheduled for trial in US District Court in New Hampshire on February 20, the DOJ said.

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