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Suspect named in TJX credit card probe

Authorities have zeroed in on a Ukrainian man they suspect played a key role in the sale of many credit card numbers stolen from TJX Cos. in what is considered the biggest corporate data breach to date.

Officials hope the recent arrest of Maksym Yastremskiy will be a breakthrough in the investigation of who hacked into systems at TJX and other companies, said Greg Crabb, a program manager in the global investigations division of the US Postal Inspection Service. The service is among various law enforcement agencies trying to track down hackers who made off with more than 45 million credit and debit card numbers from TJX starting in 2005.

Crabb said Yastremskiy allegedly sold card numbers through online forums hosted overseas, sometimes in Cyrillic or that were password protected. He is likely the largest seller of stolen TJX numbers, Crabb said.

Prices ranged from $20 to $100 per stolen card, and the cards were sold in batches of up to 10,000, depending on factors like the credit limits of the consumer accounts being traded. Crabb said Yastremskiy is associated with at least one other Ukrainian man previously charged with similar crimes, though unrelated to the TJX case.