Articles Posted in Criminal

Power Pole

On June 13, 2016, the U.S. Attorneys’ Office filed a complaint in the Western District of Washington against the City of Seattle and its department Seattle City Light.

In United States of America v. City of Seattle, the complaint revealed that the FBI had been installing covert video surveillance cameras on city utility poles, as part of an investigation of particular subjects. The federal government is seeking an injunction to prevent the City, which had received a request from a KIRO 7 reporter under the Washington State Public Records Act, from disclosing the location of cameras that the FBI had installed on city utility poles.

The FBI had been coordinating with Seattle City Light by providing it with the location of its surveillance cameras. Previously, utility personnel were removing and destroying foreign equipment found on its utility poles, so the FBI began notifying Seattle City Light security personnel of the location of its surveillance cameras to prevent them from being removed, tampered with, compromised or destroyed by City Light employees.

A 1961 Illinois eavesdropping law “likely violates the First Amendment’s free speech-speech and free-press guarantees,” a federal appeals court ruled.

The 69-page decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit blocks enforcement of an Illinois criminal law that made it a felony to make audio recordings of Chicago police without receiving their consent.

What prompted the lawsuit?
Continue reading →

If you think that texting is so ’90s, guess again.

A new criminal case against former BP employee Kurt Mix is an important reminder that, while social networks like Facebook and Twitter may be all the rage, deleting work-related text messages from your mobile phone might get you in trouble with the law.

Especially if prosecutors can prove that you obstructed justice by hiding something from a criminal investigation. In Mix’s case, the investigation involved BP’s deadly Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Continue reading →

Flash DriveThe Second Circuit overturned the conviction of programmer Sergey Aleynikov, who was found guilty of violating the National Stolen Property Act (19 USC 2314) and the Economic Espionage Act (18 USC 1832). US. v. Aleynikov (Apr 11, 2012, 2nd Cir.)

The defendant was a software programmer at Goldman Sachs who worked on their High Frequency Trading (HFT) system. This proprietary internal software system ran algorithms to determine when to make trades based on rapidly changing market conditions. Aleynikov left Goldman to take a job offer at a small Chicago software company, which wanted to develop HFT software. However, before leaving Goldman, Aleynikov uploaded significant portions of the HFT code from Goldman servers to a server in Germany. Then, he downloaded that code at home, put it on a flash drive, and took it to Chicago to give to his new employer. He was arrested by the FBI upon his return to New Jersey.
Continue reading →

According to court documents (see below), the FBI and federal prosecutors got help from hacker Hector Xavier Monsegur a/k/a ‘Sabu’ a/k/a ‘Xavier DeLeon’ a/k/a ‘Leon’ to build cases against other alleged members of Anonymous, LulzSec, Internet Feds, and AntiSec hacker groups.

U.S. authorities charged five accused hackers with federal criminal computer hacking violations, while Monsegur pled guilty to a variety of ‘substantive hacking’ violations that included targets like Sony Pictures, Fox Broadcasting, and PBS.
Continue reading →

Silicon Valley-based solar panel giant SunPower sued five former employees and competitor SolarCity today, contending that shortly before they left SunPower, the employees connected USB drives to the company’s computer network, “and used them to steal tens-of-thousands of computer files” with confidential and non-confidential proprietary information.

In addition to civil damages and injunctive relief, SunPower also wants to hold the ex-employees criminally liable for violating a California law prohibiting unauthorized computer data access and fraud.

The case raises important questions about what, if any, data loss prevention (DLP) systems were in place to prevent employee theft and the loss of such highly confidential and proprietary data. How could the alleged data transfer of information on hundreds of millions of dollars in sales at a Silicon Valley company occur so brazenly?
Continue reading →

Doug Whitman, the head portfolio manager at Whitman Capital, LLC, was indicted by a New York federal grand jury on insider trading and criminal securities fraud charges (read the indictment below).

The indictment alleges that in 2006 and 2007, Whitman’s firm made $900,000 in illegal profits by trading Google and Polycom stocks using material, non-public information that Whitman himself acquired to make the trades.

Whitman is also charged with buying and selling Marvell Technology Group stock and options over roughly two years using insider information.
Continue reading →

In pre-Super Bowl style, prosecutors charged a Michigan man with criminal copyright violations for allegedly operating nine (9) websites chock full of pirated sports broadcast videos (read the complaint below).

Separately, federal agents also seized a purported $4.8 million in knock-off Super Bowl merchandise imported into the U.S.

The U.S. Attorney’s message? Don’t risk any high-tech copyright shenanigans with unauthorized streams of this Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI.
Continue reading →

Facebook and Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna filed lawsuits today (see below) accusing affiliate marketer Adscend Media, LLC along with company co-founders Jeremy Bash and Fehzan Ali of engaging in ‘likejacking’ a/k/a ‘clickjacking’ to deceive and trick users into giving out their personal information.

“Likejacking” describes the sleazy practice of tricking Facebook users into clicking a Facebook “Like” button that triggers a malicious activity, like posting a status update in order to spam them and their friends.
Continue reading →

You would think that Silicon Valley giants would compensate their employees well, support their professional growth, and know that a time will come when they leave for greener pastures.

C-level execs at Apple, Google, Adobe, Pixar, Intel, Intuit, and Lucasfilm apparently thought, acted, and communicated differently, however, according to newly revealed legal documents in an employee class-action lawsuit (see below).
Continue reading →