Private Investigators Hire Hackers to Gain an Edge in Civil Court
Five people, including a former San Francisco police officer were indicted by a federal grand jury in San Jose on charges that they had hacked into computers to gain an advantage in civil lawsuits. The case focuses around private investigators Nathan Moser and Peter Siragusa. The two men hired Trent Williams, a 24-year-old, and Sumit Gupta, 26, to hack into victims’ computers to access various accounted according to the indictment handed down last month and opened this week.
The alleged hackers installed Keyloggers on the target computers. Each defendant was charged with conspiracy, six counts of accessing a protected computer to gain information, and two counts of intercepting electronic communications.
Moser is the owner of Moser and Associates, and Siragusa owns Siragusa Investigations. The two private Investigators frequently worked together, authorities said. One of Moser’s clients was Carlo Pacileo, who was the director of security for a network marketing company named ViSalus. According to the indictment, the defendants targeted the co-founders of Ocean Avenue, a competitor of ViSalus, which hired former ViSalus employees. ViSalus filed a lawsuit against Ocean Avenue, and Pacileo hired Moser for investigating the other company. Moser then contacted Siragusa to assist in the investigation. Pacileo was also charged in the indictment on the same counts as the others.
This case is significant because private investigators used illicit methods to attempt to gain an edge in civil court. If they had not been caught, ViSalus would have had a better chance of a favorable outcome against Ocean Avenue. While hacking attacks are getting easier and more sophisticated, there is always the risk of getting caught.
All of the defendants except Gupta have appeared in court. FBI agents in San Jose are working with agents in India to secure Gupta’s prosecution.
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