Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Anonymous Associate, Friends Charged in Computer Hacking Scheme

Three residents of Pittsburgh have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on cyber crime charges, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The five-count superseding indictment, returned on June 6 and unsealed today, named Matthew James West, 20, of 116 Sanford Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15204; Jonathan Cunningham, 28, and his wife, Alyson Cunningham, 24, both of 232 Augusta Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15211, as the defendants.

According to the superseding indictment, West was an associate of Alyson and Jonathan Cunningham who had an interest in computer hacking and identified himself as an associate of the computer hacking collective “Anonymous.” On or about November 28, 2011, Alyson Cunningham was terminated from her employment with a law firm “VG.” That same day West, assisted by Jonathan and Alyson Cunningham, hacked into the computer server at VG and installed software that could be used to capture passwords of anyone on the firm’s network. On or about November 29, 2011, West provided personal financial information of Alyson’s former workers at VG to Jonathan Cunningham in violation of federal law.

The defendants were arrested this morning and made an initial appearance in federal court before Magistrate Judge Maureen Kelly. Arraignments are scheduled for June 29 at 10 a.m. before Magistrate Judge Cynthia Eddy. The defendants were released on $10,000 unsecured bond.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 26 years in prison, a fine of $1.1 million, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.

Assistant United States Attorney James T. Kitchen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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