A US man accused of hacking into financial institutions and then selling the stolen data in an online forum was indicted on Tuesday on identity theft charges, authorities said.

Max Ray Butler, from San Francisco and who uses the online alias "Iceman," faces up to 40 years in prison and a $1.5 million (£740,000) fine after a US court jury returned a five-count indictment charging the 35-year-old with wire fraud and transferring stolen identity information.

Police tracked down Butler with the help of an informant from the state of Pennsylvania who purchased more than 100 credit card records from him.

According to the complaint against Butler, who is being held by US authorities in California, he used wireless hijacking tactics to break into the databases of financial institutions and credit card processing centres from various hotel rooms.

Then, he sold the stolen information on his online forum, reportedly peddling tens of thousands of records.

He is expected to return to court in Pittsburgh to face the charges after a hearing scheduled for Monday in California.

A spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh could not immediately be reached for comment.