Earlier this month, United States law enforcement officials announced the conviction and sentencing of a Swedish credit card payment processor for his role in a cyber crime ring that bilked unsuspecting businesses to the tune of $71 million.

Mikael Patrick Sallnert was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison and fined $650,000. According to the Justice Department's Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, Sallnert convinced some 960,000 victims that their computer systems had been penetrated by a virus that could be fixed with software created by his partners in crime. Neither the problem nor the fix were real.

"Payment processors like this defendant are the backbone of the [cyber crime] underworld," U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a press statement. "As an established businessman, this defendant put a stamp of legitimacy on cyber criminals.  He was involved in defrauding thousands of victims, and his actions contributed to insecurities in e-commerce that stifle the development of legitimate enterprises and increase the costs of e-commerce for everyone."

When business owners work with payment processors and software providers, they are putting their trust in those partners. This is an example of the worst kind of violation of that trust. Not only were these companies scammed out of their hard-earned money, but they also had to go through the arduous task of switching payment processors, and possibly POS systems as well.

Unfortunately, this is not likely to be the last incident involving a less-than-honest vendor causing headaches for business owners. That is why it is advantageous for companies to work with payment processing software that can be used with any major processor or independent service organization (ISO). This will make the transition from one provider or ISO to another as seamless as possible in the event that one wants – or needs – to make a change.