Chicago Man Faces Life for Hacking Private Intelligence Company

Saturday, 24 Nov 2012 03:49 PM

By Stephen Feller

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A computer hacker connected to the group Anonymous could face life in prison for stealing credit card, email, and other personal information from a private intelligence company, and posting it on the Internet.

The compromised information already has cost the company, Strategic Forecasters, several million dollars in a class-action lawsuit with its customers, one of which is the judge overseeing the criminal case against alleged hacker Jeremy Hammond’s, reported RT.com.

Hammond, a member of LulzSec, an offshoot of the hacktivist collective Anonymous, is accused of breaking into Strategic Forecasters’ servers and collecting thousands of emails, credit card numbers and pieces of sensitive information related to the company’s customers.

He was caught after uploading the information to a government run server and discussing the information with another hacker, Hector Xavier Monsegur, who turned out to be a government informant. Monsegur was responsible for several members of LulzSec and Anonymous being caught by the FBI in March, reported Fox News at the time.

According to RT, Judge Loretta Preska, who is handling the case, may have a personal connection to the case because her husband, Thomas J. Kavaler, was one of the Strategic Forecasters’ customers whose information was stolen.

Based on the information released by LulzSec after the break-in, Kavaler may be eligible for a payout in the class-action suit, which would provide Preska a personal reason to push harder on any outcome in Hammond’s trial.

Hammond, whose trial will not expected to start until sometime next year, has been held without bail as the government case is built against him.

Several members of the activist community he belongs to, both online and offline, have questioned Preska’s ability to conduct a fair trial.

“Judge Preska by proxy is a victim of the very crime she intends to judge Jeremy Hammond for. Judge Preska has failed to disclose the fact that her husband is a client of Stratfor and recuse herself from Jeremy's case, therefore violating multiple sections of Title 28 of the United States Code,” reads a press release from Anonymous.

“Judge Loretta Preska's impartiality is compromised by her husband's involvement with Stratfor and a clear prejudice against Hammond exists, as evident by her statements,” it continues. “Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected.”

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