Private eye, about to address hacker conference, arrested

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FBI agents arrested a private investigator over the weekend as he was preparing to address a hacker conference in New York City, several media outlets reported today.

The complaint lodged against Steven Rambam, head of New York-based investigative agency Pallorium, charges him with one count of influencing a law enforcement officer or jury member, according to published reports. The charge relates to a time when Rambam posed as a law enforcement officer so he could question the family of an informant who helped police in a money laundering case.

He was arrested as he was about to speak at the Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) Conference.

According to the Washington Post's "Security Fix" blog, "Rambam's fellow panelists said four men clad in dark blue FBI jackets quietly entered the auditorium, asked Rambam if he had any weapons on him, and then escorted him out the door along with laptop and other equipment that contained the PowerPoint slides that were to make up the bulk of his scheduled two-hour presentation."

Rambam was planning to show the audience how he spent just four-and-one-half hours to discover more than 500 pages worth of personal data on HOPE attendee Rick Dakan, a videogame designer and comic book publisher who is working on a book about hackers, the Post reported.

Calls placed to Pallorium were not immediately returned.

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