12:37 PM

Mass. Man Sentenced For Computer Fraud Conspiracy

Justin Perras and four co-conspirators were charged with breaking into a database at Seisint routinely used by law enforcement.

A man who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and identity theft has been ordered to pay more than $100,000 to LexisNexis and a Florida police department, while also being sentenced to a year in prison.

Justin A. Perras, of New Bedford, Mass., was sentenced this week in U.S. District Court Judge in West Palm Beach, Fla. After he serves his time, he will face three years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service.

Perras, and four co-defendants who were sentenced last December, was charged with hacking into a database at Seisint, Inc., which was a Boca Raton-based data service company that was bought by LexisNexis in 2004.

"We are seeing a steady increase in legal action against cyber criminals, which is necessary to raise awareness about threats we are all susceptible to," said Ron O'Brien, senior security analyst at Sophos, in a written statement. "Quick action taken on all fronts led to closing this case. However, organizations and individuals must pay attention to the rising number of Trojan horses circulating today and take steps to protect their systems from such attacks."

According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida, early in 2005 the hackers used social engineering and Trojan horses to obtain login and password information to break into the company's commercial Accurint database, which is frequently used by law-enforcement. Once in, they made unauthorized entries and queries to the database, the government reports.

According to The Washington Post, three of the men said they had obtained addresses and Social Security information on Hollywood stars like Demi Moore, Laurence Fishburne, Paris Hilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For their roles in the conspiracy, U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp on Dec. 16, 2006 sentenced Timothy McKeage to eight months imprisonment, followed by three years supervised release, and 100 hours of community service, according to court records. Jason Daniel Hawks was sentenced to three years probation with 100 hours of community service. Zachary Wiley Mann was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, followed by three years supervised release, and 100 hours of community service. Jeffrey Robert Weinberg was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, followed by three years supervised release, and 100 hours of community service.

All five of the defendants are restricted from using computers and were ordered to pay joint restitution to Lexis/Nexis and the Port Orange Police Department in the amount of $105,750.

LexisNexis is a global information provider with a strong focus on legal issues, law enforcement and government.

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