3rd crime ring suspect behind bars

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SAN DIEGO — A third suspected member of a Baja California-based crime ring that stole the personal information of about 40,000 people and used it to siphon funds from the victims’ brokerage or bank accounts was behind bars in San Diego Tuesday following his capture south of the border.

Acting on tips from the public, Mexican police arrested John Gordon Baden, 38, in Tijuana on Saturday, according to the FBI. He was turned over to U.S. authorities late Monday afternoon to face charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and computer hacking.

Baden, along with co-defendants Jason Ray Bailey and Victor Alejandro Fernandez, allegedly filched loan applicants’ names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, asset listings, tax information and driver’s license numbers by exploiting “vulnerabilities” in the servers of a U.S. mortgage company, according to the FBI.

A federal indictment alleges that the suspects victimized people across the United States between July 2011 and August 2013, stealing millions of dollars from them.

Prosecutors allege the trio carried out the scheme by illicitly obtaining and sharing log-in credentials that enabled them to gain access to the targeted brokerage’s customer records and the computer application it used to manage them.

Baden’s capture came 30 days after the FBI announced a reward of up to $5,000 for information on his whereabouts. He was scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in San Diego on Wednesday.

The FBI arrested Bailey and Fernandez in February. They remain in federal custody pending trial.

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