Cybercrime Review 2013: Hacker Student Christopher J. Wright, 23, sentenced to 2 years federal prison in Florida A&M University Hacking Case (FAMU)

In October 2013, Christopher J. Wright, 23, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was sentenced to two years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft and access device fraud arising from a scheme to steal financial aid monies from students at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU).

While students at FAMU in 2010, Wright and his co-defendants, Carliss Pereira, 22, of Tallahassee, and Carl Coutard, 22, of Miami Shores, Florida, discovered a means of accessing the financial aid accounts of other students in FAMU’s iRattler computer system.

The defendants obtained the usernames, passwords, and other personal identifying information of their fellow students by taking paperwork discarded in the trash bins near the FAMU computer help desk, by gathering information from public sources on the internet, and by tricking FAMU employees and the students themselves into providing this information.

The defendants used the information to log on to the financial aid accounts of students who were scheduled to receive financial aid refunds. The defendants then changed the bank account and routing numbers in the victims’ financial aid accounts to divert the victims’ financial aid refunds to pre-paid debit cards held by the defendants. In all but a few cases, FAMU was able to reverse engineer the fraudulent transfers.

iRattler Logo
Pereira and Coutard pled guilty to access device fraud and aggravated identity theft charges in February 2013. Coutard was sentenced to six months of house arrest and six months of community confinement, and was ordered to perform 80 hours of community service, as conditions of a three-year term of supervised release. Pereira was sentenced to a three-year term of supervised release with conditions that he serve four months of home detention and two months of community confinement. Pereira was also ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and to pay 3.983 USD in restitution to FAMU.

Pamela C. Marsh
In announcing the sentence imposed by the court, United States Attorney Pamela C. Marsh said, “Today’s sentence sends a clear message that engaging in this type of criminal conduct will have serious consequences, including the real possibility of a felony conviction and a prison term. The defendants in this case quite literally breached the security of their university, in an effort to victimize their fellow students.”

Ms. Marsh expressed her deep gratitude to the FBI, the FAMU Police Department, the United States Department of Education – Office of Inspector General, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the United States Secret Service, whose excellent investigative work resulted in these prosecutions. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Rhew-Miller prosecuted the case.

Statement from FAMU

Florida A&M University has implemented additional security measures related to students setting up direct deposit accounts since the 2010 incident. The U.S. Attorney's Office involvement in issuing indictments indicates that FAMU is serious about addressing the alleged criminal acts. As a point of clarification, the individuals did not hack into the system, but gained access to student personal information using deceptive tactics and improperly used the information to commit the alleged criminal acts. Since implementing the security measures, FAMU has not had any repeat incidents.

Keine Kommentare:

Kommentar veröffentlichen