Onur Kopcak and the prison sentence of doom

If ever anyone needed to go on an Indiana Jones type quest it’s Onur Kopcak, a 26 year old Turk who’s only hope of redemption resides somewhere within The Canyon of the Crescent Moon.


Because he has just been sentenced to a lifetime behind bars.

Plus about another 270 years on top, just for good measure.

Unlike Indy though, he isn’t guilty of stealing artefacts that belong in a museum.

His crime is stealing identities (he was actually charged with identity fraud, access device fraud, wire fraud and website forgery).

Arrested in 2013 following complaints from 43 bank customers who claimed their credit cards had been cloned, he was convicted for operating a phishing website that mimicked a banking site and sentenced to 199 years, 7 months and 10 days in jail.

While we here in Britain hand out puny sentences for data crimes, the Turks appear to take things far more seriously, at least in the case of Kopcak who duped victims into handing over bank and credit card information to himself and his eleven co-conspirators.

But, unlike Britain again, the Turkish justice system didn’t stop when it had it’s man banged up for longer than a medieval knight guarding a carpenter’s cup – when further investigations, following another eleven bank customer complaints, revealed payment card fraud, round 2 began.

And this time around, another 135 years were added to Kopeck’s sentence.

According to Istanbul website Daily Sabah, the additional jail time was handed out by the Mersin Third Criminal Court of General Jurisdiction yesterday, leading to the longest sentence ever – that I’m aware of (but I wouldn’t be surprised if he US justice system hasn’t trumped that at some point) – for computer crime.

Kopeck, whose lawyers had asked for a maximum prison term of 35 years to be upheld, is currently residing in Osmaniye prison in the southern province of Adana.

While pleading with the judge, Kopcak said:

I am sure you’ll not even member the colour of my skin.

I’m not quite sure what that was supposed to mean but, with relatives in Turkey who’ve been there long enough to know about the justice system, he’s probably right – if he ever sees the light of day again I suspect his complexion will have changed much in the squalor of a Turkish cell.

But is that fair?

Is the Turkish justice system overreacting or are other countries letting cyber criminals off the hook too lightly?

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