Thursday, September 1, 2016
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Marcel Lehel Lazar, aka “Guccifer,” 44, of Arad, Romania, a hacker who unlawfully accessed the private online accounts of at least 100 Americans and caused the public release of this information on the Internet, was sentenced today to a total of 52 months in prison for unauthorized access to a protected computer (28 months) and aggravated identity theft (24 months). Lazar was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release, forfeit online storage accounts that contained victim information, and pay restitution to his victims.
Lazar pleaded guilty on May 25. According to court documents, from at least October 2012 to January 2014, Lazar intentionally gained unauthorized access to email and social media accounts belonging to approximately 100 Americans, and he did so to unlawfully obtain his victims’ personal information and email correspondence. While some of Lazar’s targets were public figures – including a former U.S. Cabinet member and a former member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff – other targets were private citizens whom Lazar selected because they appeared in the email contact lists of other victims. In some instances, Lazar impersonated his victims online to, among other things, harass and collect information about other victims. In many instances, Lazar publically released his victims’ private email correspondence, medical and financial information, and personal photographs, without their consent. Lazar admitted that to conceal his identity from law enforcement, he used proxy servers to mask his location, and when he believed his identity had been uncovered he used an ax to smash his computer devices and cellphone. Lazar also admitted that he committed his crimes while on probation in Romania for earlier computer hacking offenses.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Bill A. Miller, Director of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS); and Brian J. Ebert, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing today by U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris.
This case was investigated by the FBI, DSS, and Secret Service, with assistance from the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maya D. Song and Jay V. Prabhu, and Senior Counsel Ryan K. Dickey and Peter V. Roman of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.
The Department of Justice gratefully acknowledges the Romanian Ministry of Justice for its support in assisting the United States with this case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-213.