Cedarville Man Sentenced To 10 Months For Computer Hacking
FORT SMITH (KFSM) – A Cedarville man was sentenced to 10 months for computer and email hacking, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Conner Eldridge.
Mark A. Townsend, 45, was sentenced to five months in prison and five months home detention, as well as, five years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, the release states.
The sentencing took place in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith before Judge Paul K. Holmes III, according to the release.
U. S. Attorney Eldridge stated “We will actively pursue crimes involving computer intrusion and hacking. Those who perpetrate these crimes intentionally invade the privacy of others and steal information. Such crimes victimize law-abiding citizens and should be investigated and prosecuted.”
According to documents filed in the case, from May, 2002 through June, 2013, Townsend operated and participated in an Internet business which solicited customers that sought, in return for a fee, the passwords of email accounts belonging to other people.
Townsend, and others that he recruited to participate in the business, obtained those passwords without the permission of the password owners, court documents state.
The defendant and others involved in the business emailed those passwords and screenshots to the customers upon payment of the negotiated fees. Through everything, Townsend and others obtained access to approximately 5,921 email accounts, according to court documents.
In total, Townsend received approximately $356,235.35 in fees from customers, court documents state.
“Cyber-crime will remain a priority for the FBI,” said David T. Resch, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Little Rock. “We appreciate the hard work of our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and we will continue work together to identify and bring to justice cyber criminals.”