Criminal investigations and prosecutions have followed the growing use of technology by business and consumers. The federal government has recently implemented actions under the Computer Crime Control Act. These federal crimes are complicated and have serious consequences.
Individuals and business who use computers to acquire and use sensitive information can be prosecuted under computer fraud and other federal crimes. Sometimes, using a computer to commit a crime may constitute an enhancement which increases the seriousness of the underlying offense.
One offense, the Computer Crime Control Act, deals with fraud on individual and organizations in addition to government agencies. This law prohibits individuals and organizations from using computers to gain access to the protected computers of others without permission.
These cases typically involve financial gain but may involve other benefits. Alleged offenders can face federal imprisonment, confiscation, damages, and civil liability even if they do not have an earlier criminal record. The government’s investigation is usually well underway before individuals know there is a pending prosecution or receive notification of the government’s investigation.
Federal law enforcement has begun focusing on cases involving employees who obtain access based on their position. Employees, through their jobs, often access sensitive information such as customer passwords, medical information, and corporate secrets. Employees usually agree not to use customer information for their personal enrichment or to engage in crimes.
An ADT employee in Texas, for example, recently pled guilty and will serve 52 months imprisonment for several charges associated with hacking the video feed of 200 customers to spy on them.
Federal law enforcement is also engaged in investigations and prosecutions of individuals and businesses using computers to misappropriate important business information from clients or companies that have contracts for services.
One alleged offender in Oklahoma pled guilty and faces five years imprisonment, payment of victim compensation and up to three years of post-release supervision. He was charged with the theft and sale of technical drawings, material specifications and manufacturing procedures from an oil and gas company.
Like other fraud case, the government must show that the defendant made a deliberately false statement or misrepresentation for their own interests or the interests of another party. Their knowledge of their guilt is required.
The government may rely on circumstantial evidence. But a defendant can attack the prosecution’s interpretation of that evidence.
Attorneys can assist people being investigated with computer and wire fraud crimes. They can help assure that their rights are protected.