Van Dinh, 25 of Phoenixville, Pa. recently was charged with two counts of computer fraud in U.S. District Court in New York, according to a court affidavit obtained by Wired.
An FBI investigation revealed that last December, Dinh established a legitimate online account with the unnamed brokerage firm, according to the affidavit filed by FBI Special Agnet Frank Manzi, who conducted the investigation. On two instances in January, Dinh gained administrator access to the company's computer network, which enabled him to access the accounts of other customers and transfer funds into his own. Dinh made two separate deposits of $55,000 into his own account from two different customers of the brokerage firm, Manzi said in the affidavit.
On another occasion, Dinh transferred more than $140,000 into the account of another customer. Because of Dinh's actions, the brokerage company had to pay more than $5,000 to fix the system.
The FBI traced the fraudulent activity to three different IP addresses issued to Dinh. He was arrested March 16 and is being held without bail at a Brooklyn jail because a federal magistrate ruled he poses a "danger to the community by hacking activities," Wired reported.
In 2004, Dinh was convicted in Massachusetts and sentenced to 13 months in prison on charges of unauthorized use of a computer, stemming from a stock market manipulation scheme he carried out.
Dinh accessed an investor's online brokerage account and caused the investor to purchase soon-to-be worthless Cisco stock options, which were held by Dinh, according to a news release from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. By causing the investor to unknowingly purchase these options, Dinh avoided approximately $37,000 in losses he would have incurred if the worthless options expired in his own account.