A Florida man has been sentenced to 90 months in prison for making e-mail and telephone threats, including threats intended to cause a candidate for statewide office in Florida to drop out of an election, as well as hacking into e-mail accounts of individuals and companies, and using stolen identity information to commit computer crimes, announced Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter M. Stewart.
Kyle J. Tschiegg, 39, of Sarasota, Fla., was sentenced on Jan. 7, 2010, in U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio, by Senior U.S. District Judge James L. Graham. Tschiegg was also sentenced to three years of supervised release following his prison term, and was ordered to pay restitution to victims who incurred financial losses responding to Tschiegg’s threats and computer intrusions. Tschiegg pleaded guilty on Sept. 4, 2009, to one count each of interstate transmission of threatening communications, interstate extortion, computer fraud and identity theft.
According to court documents, Tschiegg sent threats via e-mail and cell phone to a group of approximately 40 individuals and businesses in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere, from October 2007 until his arrest in February 2009. At one point, approximately 3,500 e-mail accounts were being copied on the threatening e-mails. Tschiegg admitted he used several methods to conceal his identity, including using his laptop computer to access the Internet through the unsecured wireless networks of his neighbors in Sarasota.
Also according to court documents, Tschiegg hacked into a Florida state legislator’s e-mail account in October 2008. According to court records, Tschiegg used personal information he found about the legislator on the Internet to reset the legislator’s password. Less than two weeks before the Nov. 4, 2008, election, Tschiegg admitted he sent two e-mails threatening to injure the legislator, the legislator’s family and supporters, unless the legislator withdrew from the race.
The charges arose after a six-month investigation, led by the FBI and with assistance from the Sarasota County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah A. Solove for the Southern District of Ohio and Trial Attorney Joseph E. Springsteen of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel Moore of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.