Mar 012019
 

WTVR reports:

Former Lee-Davis High School special education teacher Christopher Brannan was sentenced to 34 months in prison for his role in the ‘Celebgate’ Apple iCloud hacking which resulted in the release of people’s private photos and videos.

Christopher Brannan, 31, was previously convicted of unauthorized access to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft.

Read more on WTVR.

Feb 112019
 

Stephen Chen reports:

Qin Qisheng, 43, a former manager in Huaxia Bank’s technology development centre in Beijing, spotted a loophole in the bank’s core operating system that meant cash withdrawals made around midnight were not recorded.

The bank accepted his explanation that he had simply been trying to test its internal security and the cash was just resting in his own account before he returned it to his employers.

But the authorities did not accept this explanation and jailed Qin for theft in December, a ruling the appeal court upheld last month.

Read more on South China Morning Post.

via Joe Cadillic

Feb 052019
 

From the press release:

United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that KENDRA GRAVES, age 31, was charged on January 31, 2019 in a two-count bill of information with theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641 and identity theft in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028(a)(7).

According to court documents, GRAVES falsified federal student loan applications and used the stolen student aid monies valued at approximately $200,000 for her own personal use.  As part of her scheme to defraud, GRAVES applied for federal financial aid at Delgado Community College in the name of 15 individuals without their knowledge or consent.

If convicted, GRAVES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of $250,000 as to Count 1 and 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 as to Count 2. GRAVES also faces three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment and a $200 special assessment fee.

U.S. Attorney Strasser reiterated that a bill of information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the work of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter.  Assistant United States Attorney Julia K. Evans is in charge of the prosecution.

 

Feb 042019
 

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal grand jury indicted Ahmad Wagaafe Hared and Matthew Gene Ditman with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, conspiracy to commit access device fraud, extortion, and aggravated identity theft, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent in Charge John Bennett.

According to the indictment unsealed today, Hared, 21, of Tucson, Ariz., and Ditman, 23, of Las Vegas, Nev., engaged in a scheme to obtain by fraud and extortion cryptocurrencies and other money and property owned and controlled by executives of cryptocurrency-related companies and cryptocurrency investors.  The indictment alleges Hared, Ditman, and their co-conspirators used fraud, deception, and social engineering techniques to induce representatives of cellphone service providers to provide information about the SIM cards of the conspirators’ victims.  A SIM card—short for Subscriber Identity Module or Subscriber Identification Module—is a technology used to identify and authenticate subscribers on mobile phone devices.  The conspirators allegedly convinced the representatives of cellphone service providers to transfer or port cellphone numbers from SIM cards in the devices possessed by victims to SIM cards in devices possessed by the conspirators, a practice known as SIM swapping.  The indictment further alleges that after Hared, Ditman, and others gained control of victims’ cellphone numbers, they used additional deceptive techniques to gain access to email, electronic storage, and other accounts of victims and ultimately to cryptocurrency accounts of victims.  Hared, Ditman, and their co-conspirators also extorted victims of the SIM swapping scheme.

Hared was arrested in Tucson and made his initial appearance in the District of Arizona on January 31, 2019.  He was released on a $100,000 bond.  His next scheduled appearance is at 9:30 a.m. on February 13, 2019, before the Honorable Laurel Beeler, U.S. Magistrate Court Judge.

Ditman was arrested in Las Vegas and made his initial appearance in the District of Nevada on January 31, 2019.  He was released on bond.  His next scheduled appearance is at 9:30 a.m. on February 6, 2019, before Judge Beeler.

The indictment charges the defendants with the following crimes and, if found guilty, they are subject to the following maximum statutory penalties:

Count Charge Maximum Penalties
One 18 U.S.C. § 1030(b) – Conspiracy to Commit Computer Fraud and Abuse Five years of imprisonment; $250,000 fine or not more than twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss; three years of supervised release; $100 special assessment; forfeiture; and restitution
Two 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(7) – Threatening to Damage a Protected Computer Five years of imprisonment; $250,000 fine or not more than twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss; three years of supervised release; $100 special assessment; forfeiture; and restitution
Three 18 U.S.C. § 875(d) – Interstate Communications with Intent to Extort Two years of imprisonment; $250,000 fine or not more than twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss; one year of supervised release; $100 special assessment; forfeiture; and restitution
Four 18 U.S.C. § 1029(b)(2) – Conspiracy to Commit Access Device Fraud Five years of imprisonment; $250,000 fine or not more than twice the gross gain or twice the gross loss; three years of supervised release; $100 special assessment; forfeiture; and restitution
Five 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1) – Aggravated Identity Theft Two-year mandatory minimum consecutive sentence

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Leach is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Mimi Lam and Rebecca Shelton.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.

Further Information:

Case #: 19-040 WHO

A copy of this press release will be placed on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.

Source:   U.S. Attorney’s Office,  Northern District of California

 

Jan 122019
 

Nate Raymond reports that the Martin Gottesfeld has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison and $443,000 in restitution for his DDoS attack on Boston Children’s Hospital and another facility in 2014. Gottesfeld had been convicted on August 1, and had shown no remorse for his actions.

According to prosecutors, in late 2013, Gottesfeld, a computer engineer living in Somerville, Massachusetts, learned about a child custody dispute involving a Connecticut teenager, Justina Pelletier.

Pelletier had been taken into state custody in Massachusetts after a dispute over her diagnosis arose between her parents and Boston Children’s Hospital, which determined her health problems were psychiatric in nature and believed her parents were interfering with her treatment.

Her case garnered headlines and drew the attention of religious and political groups who viewed it as an example of government interference with parental rights.

Read more on Computerworld.

So “BestBuy” got a few years for DDoS in the UK and Gottesfeld gets more than 10 years in the U.S.. But was Gottesfeld’s sentencing justifiable in terms of the harm he had done or could have potentially done — and his lack of remorse?  Once again, I think the significant sentencing discrepancies will come into play when Nathan Wyatt, aka “Crafty Cockney,” a member or associate of thedarkoverlord, fights extradition in a UK court.