Friday, February 08, 2013

U.S. attorney praises FAMUPD's assistance in iRattler hacking case


Pamela C. Marsh, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced indictments against three defendants charged with hacking into FAMU's iRattler computer system.

A press release from her office said that she "praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FAMU Police Department, the United States Department of Education, the United States Secret Service, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, whose joint investigation led to the indictment in the case."

Carl Joseph Coutard, 21, and Carliss Pereira, 22, both of Miami, Florida, and Christopher J. Wright, 22, of Fort Lauderdale, have been charged with conspiring to access iRattler in order to divert financial aid monies to themselves.

The eight-count indictment alleges that between March and November 2010, the three men illegally used the personal identifying information of their fellow FAMU students, without the students’ permission, to access the students’ financial aid information in the iRattler system.

As alleged in the indictment, the defendants then changed the students’ bank account and routing information without the students’ knowledge or consent. When the students were due to receive financial aid refunds, the defendants would divert these monies to bank accounts the defendants had fraudulently opened in the students’ names.

In addition to conspiracy, Wright is charged with one count of using an unauthorized access device, Coutard and Pereira are charged with possession of more than 15 unauthorized access devices, and Coutard is charged with obtaining information from a protected computer without authorization.

The unauthorized access device offenses are punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The computer intrusion and conspiracy offenses each carry a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.

All three men are also charged with aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory term of 2 years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence.

FAMU released the following statement in response to the indictments:  "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."

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