Threat Management

Cybercrime Blotter: Man who impersonated financial institution pleads guilty to computer intrusion

What happened? Dwayne Hans, 27, of Richland, Wash., pleaded guilty last week to illegally accessing a website operated by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and then modifying information in order to redirect more than $1.5 million in government payments to his own personal accounts.

Jurisdiction: The guilty plea took place in a Brooklyn federal court, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann. Bridget Rohde, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William Sweeney, Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the FBI's New York Field Office, officially announced the guilty plea.

Sentencing: Hans officially pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of computer intrusion. He faces up to 30 years' imprisonment for the former charge and another five years plus a fine for the latter charge. 

Background: Per a Department of Justice press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office:

In early 2016, Hans impersonated an unnamed U.S. financial institution, opening numerous bank accounts in its name. Later, he accessed the GSA website, which allows companies contracted by the government to indicate how it wants to receive payments.

"Hans modified payment information in an entry associated with Financial Institution 1 in order to redirect payments to accounts he controlled," the DOJ release states. "As a result, a U.S. government agency transferred approximately $1.521 million to Hans instead of to Financial Institution 1. Those transfers were ultimately detected and disrupted before the defendant withdrew or transferred the money."

"In addition, between April 2016 and June 2016, Hans used a computer to initiate electronic transfers of approximately $134,000 from two corporate bank accounts held by Financial Institution 1," the release continues. "Hans directed these fund transfers for various purposes, including to purchase publicly traded stock, to invest in real estate in Brooklyn, New York, and to pay utility bills."

Between June and October 2016, Hans also accessed the government website of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), in order to submit fraudulent requests for $1.633 million in reimbursed expenses related to three nonexistent pension plans. 

Before targeting the GSA and the unnamed financial institution, Hans also impersonated a defense contractor, submitting fraudulent bids to win contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Logistics Agency.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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