[ISN] FBI Pursuing More Cyber-Crime Cases

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Nov 5 03:16:27 EST 2004

Forwarded from: William Knowles <wk at c4i.org>


By Brian Krebs
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
November 4, 2004

A former technology company executive charged with hiring hackers to 
attack a competitor's Web site has joined the FBI's most-wanted list, 
the latest sign of the federal law enforcement agency's growing 
interest in cyber-crime.

In August, a federal grand jury indicted Saad "Jay" Echouafni, 37, the 
former chief executive of Sudbury, Mass.-based Orbit Communication 
Corp., on charges of hiring the hackers to take down the Web sites of 
a large television services company called weaknees.com. The attacks, 
FBI investigators said, made the company's Web site temporarily 
unavailable, as well as the Web sites for Amazon.com and the 
Department of Homeland Security. The attacks caused more than $2 
million in damage, prosecutors said.

Echouafni, along with 150 other defendants, was indicted as part of a 
Justice Department investigation code-named "Operation Cyberslam." But 
it was his vanishing act that earned him a spot on the most-wanted 
list, a group of more than a dozen people that includes some of 
America's most elusive criminals. It includes alleged embezzlers, an 
accused child pornographer and individuals indicted on drug and murder 

It is not the same list as the notorious "10 Most Wanted," which the 
FBI launched in 1950 to bring national recognition to some of the 
nation's most dangerous fugitives. Rather, it is a list that the 
bureau started almost five years ago on its Web site to nab suspects 
who are less of a threat or less prone toward physical violence, said 
spokesman Paul Bresson.

Echouafni joins the likes of Jie Dong, who is charged with defrauding 
Internet auction sites out of nearly $1 million. A federal arrest 
warrant issued in California said Dong stiffed more than 5,000 winning 
bidders and fled the country. The FBI says Dong may now be somewhere 
in China or Hong Kong.

Jerrod Lochmiller, 31, is charged with stealing at least $40,000 from 
18 victims who thought they bought computers, televisions, musical 
instruments and other high-priced items at online auctions. Lochmiller 
also is charged with selling fake identification materials on the 

Johnny Ray Gasca, an ex-convict and aspiring screenwriter, was 
indicted on charges of videotaping movies at private screenings in Los 
Angeles before they were publicly released. Gasca was scheduled to 
stand trial on Jan. 13, 2004, but one week earlier he eluded 
authorities after reportedly going to a local drugstore to buy cold 

The inclusion of these kinds of accused criminals throws weight behind 
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III's decision to make cyber-crime one 
of the agency's top three investigative priorities, Bresson said.

This action sends a message that the bureau is doing more than just 
talking about cyber-crime, said Mark Rasch, former prosecutor in the 
Justice Department's computer crimes and intellectual property section 
and chief security counsel at McLean, Va.-based Internet security firm 

"This is the first time we've had such a significant number of people 
being investigated and prosecuted for computer crime," Rasch said. 
"And we're only going to see this trend continue because investigators 
are getting better at identifying these individuals."

The list, which currently includes 16 suspects, is located at 

"Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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