A computer hacker facing jail over £12m worldwide internet bank fraud begged a judge to free him while he awaits sentence.
Gary Kelly, 21, from Salford, constructed a computer virus to retrieve bank account details from their unsuspecting owners through the internet.
He then sold the information to other criminals through the GhostMarket.net website.
Appearing at Southwark Crown Court in London, Kelly begged the judge to not remand him in custody until he is sentenced next year because he is a father.
"Please, your honour. I have a little girl,” Kelly said. But Judge John Price ignored his appeal and remanded him into custody until he is sentenced in February.
Kelly, of Clively Avenue, Clifton, Swinton, had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply articles for fraud and conspiracy to modify computers without authorisation.
Despite the scale of the scam, detectives found Kelly living ‘in squalor’ when they arrested him.
The court heard his co-accused, public schoolboy Nick Webber, 19, ran the Ghost
Market.net website, which sold stolen credit card details and offered online tutorials in a range of lucrative online scams.
The site has been linked to frauds across the world which saw millions plundered from 65,000 bank accounts.
Prosecutors say American account details were made available to GhostMarket customers for £2, EU ones for £3 and British ones for £4. Among the list of ‘extra services’ offered on the site were instructions on how to hack into bank accounts, create computer viruses, use stolen credit cards on eBay and manufacture the drug crystal meth.
Webber is said to have been caught with details of 100,000 credit cards on his laptop – representing a potential loss to credit card companies of approximately £12m.
Webber, of Cavendish Road, Southsea, Hants, admitted conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to make or supply articles for use in fraud and encouraging or assisting offences.
Two others, Shakira Ricardo, 21, of Kings Road, Swansea, and Samantha Worley, 22, also of Kings Road, Swansea, also admitted various charges in connection to GhostMarket.
Ricardo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to make articles for use in fraud and acquiring criminal property.
Worley admitted acquiring criminal property. Judge Price said: "You are all very young and very intelligent people, and it’s a tragedy to see you in the dock.
"You used your enormous skills and education in what looks like an enormous conspiracy to defraud and steal people’s credit cards and bank accounts and all that sort of thing, and you are so young.”
He added he was considering ‘substantial periods of imprisonment’. Sentencing was adjourned until February 28.