Former Employee Indicted on Charges of Password Trafficking and Computer Damage (February 26, 2003)
DOJ Seal
February 26, 2003

U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Northern District of California
11th floor, Federal Building
450 Golden Gate Avenue, Box 36055
San Francisco, California 94102
Phone: (415) 436-7200
Fax: (415) 436-7234

Two California Men Indicted for Unlawfully Obtaining Credit Information, Attempted Credit Fraud  

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced that two East Bay men were arraigned today in federal court in Oakland on an indictment charging multiple counts of unauthorized computer access to confidential consumer credit information and fraudulent use of credit lines. Special Agents from the United States Secret Service arrested Emmet G.J. Williams, 31, of Richmond, California, and Demarcus Hicks, 27, of Antioch, California, on the charges yesterday. The indictment, which was returned by federal grand jury late last week, charges Mr. Williams with 23 counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2). The indictment alleges that Williams, while a data entry employee at the offices of a private mortgage insurance company located in Concord, California, unlawfully accessed the company’s computer system on 23 separate dates in 2002 to obtain credit information on approximately 60 individuals from the credit reporting agency Equifax. None of the 60 individuals whose information was compromised were customers of the private mortgage insurance company, which fully cooperated in the investigation. The indictment charges Mr. Hicks with one count of fraudulent use of a credit line and two counts of attempted fraudulent use of a credit line in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1029(a)(2) and 1029(b)(1), respectively. The indictment alleges that Hicks committed those offenses in late 2002 and early 2003 in connection with credit lines he set up, or tried to set up, through the Web sites of computer makers Dell, Inc. and Gateway. Mr. Williams and Mr. Hicks pled not guilty to the charges in a proceeding this morning before United States Magistrate Judge Wayne D. Brazil. Both defendants, who were released on $50,000 appearance bonds, are scheduled to appear before United States District Court Judge Claudia Wilken on February 23, 2004 at 2 p.m. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2) is 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1029(a)(2) and 1029(b)(1) is 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be dictated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and would be imposed in the discretion of the Court. An indictment simply contains allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Williams and Mr. Hicks must be presumed innocent unless and until convicted. The prosecution is being overseen by the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office and is the result of an investigation by the United States Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Task Force in San Francisco. Kyle F. Waldinger is the Assistant U.S. Attorney in the CHIP Unit who is prosecuting the case.