Former Exel Transportation Services Employees Sentenced In Federal Corporate Hacking Case
DALLAS — Joseph Roy Brown, 39, of Collierville, Tennessee, and John Michael Kelly, 43, of Plano, Texas, were sentenced yesterday afternoon, by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis, to twelve months and one day in prison, and a 12-month term of probation, respectively, following their guilty pleas earlier this year to their roles in a corporate hacking conspiracy. Brown was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on December 4, 2013. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
The lead defendant in the case, Michael Musacchio, 62, of Plano, Texas, was sentenced earlier this month by Judge Solis to serve a total of 63 months in federal prison, following his conviction at trial in March 2013 for conspiring to hack into his former employer’s computer network. The issue of restitution is still under consideration by the court. Musacchio was convicted on one felony count of conspiracy to make unauthorized access to a protected computer (hacking) and two substantive felony counts of hacking.
According to the evidence submitted at trial and plea papers filed in the case, from 2000 to September 2004, Musacchio was the president of Exel Transportation Services, a third party logistics or intermodal transportation company that facilitated links between shippers and common carriers in the manufacturing, retail and consumer industries.
In 2004, Musacchio left Exel to form a competing company, Total Transportation Services, where he was the original president and CEO. Two other former Exel employees from the Exel Information Technology (IT) Department, Brown and Kelly, also went to work at Musacchio’s new company. Between 2004 and 2006, Musacchio and Brown, assisted by Kelly, engaged in a scheme to hack into Exel’s computer system to conduct corporate espionage. Through their repeated unauthorized accesses into Exel’s email accounts, co-conspirators Musacchio and Brown were able to obtain Exel’s confidential and proprietary business information and use it to benefit their new employer and themselves as investors.
This was the first investigation of hacking for the purpose of corporate espionage that was conducted by the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property (CCIP) Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and the FBI.
The FBI Dallas Field Office was in charge of the investigation. Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Groves and Assistant U.S. Attorney Candina Heath, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, and Trial Attorney Rick Green of the Criminal Division’s CCIP Section, prosecuted.