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Press Release

Massachusetts Man Arrested and Charged with Cyberstalking Former Roommate

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Defendant engaged in extensive online harassment and privacy intrusions

A Massachusetts man was arrested last night on charges that he conducted an extensive cyberstalking campaign against his former roommate, a 24-year-old woman who was residing in Massachusetts at the time the conduct began, as well as her friends, family members, and other associates.  Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb for the District of Massachusetts, Special Agent in Charge Harold H. Shaw of the FBI’s Boston Field Office and Waltham Police Chief Keith MacPherson made the announcement today. 

Ryan S. Lin, 24, of Newton, Massachusetts, was charged with one count of cyberstalking and will appear in U.S. District Court in Boston later today for an initial appearance. 

“Those who think they can use the Internet to terrorize people and hide behind the anonymity of the net and outwit law enforcement should think again,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco. “The Department of Justice will be relentless in its efforts to identify, arrest, prosecute, and punish the perpetrators of these horrendous acts and seek justice on behalf of their victims.”

“Mr. Lin allegedly carried out a relentless cyber stalking campaign against a young woman in a chilling effort to violate her privacy and threaten those around her,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Weinreb. “While using anonymizing services and other online tools to avoid attribution, Mr. Lin harassed the victim, her family, friends, co-workers and roommates, and then targeted local schools and institutions in her community. Mr. Lin will now face the consequences of his crimes.”

“As alleged, Mr. Lin orchestrated an extensive, multi-faceted campaign of computer hacking and online harassment that caused a huge amount of angst, alarm, and unnecessary expenditure of limited law enforcement resources,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Shaw.  “This kind of behavior is not a prank, and it isn’t harmless.  He allegedly scared innocent people, and disrupted their daily lives, because he was blinded by his obsession. No one should feel unsafe in their own home, school, or workplace, and the FBI and our law enforcement partners hope today’s arrest will deter others from engaging in similar criminal conduct.”

“I want to thank the Waltham Police detectives and the FBI investigators who worked so diligently to bring this party to justice,” said Chief MacPherson.  “I also want to thank the superintendent and the Waltham School Department for their efforts working in conjunction with law enforcement.  I also want to recognize the Waltham Police Department safety officer and the school resource officers for their hard work ensuring the safety of our school children and faculty.  This has been a lengthy and complex investigation involving many agencies and remains ongoing.  We appreciate the patience and understanding of those in our community who were affected by these criminal acts and thank those who have allowed us to work towards the best result possible in our attempts to put an end to these disruptions.”  

It is alleged that Lin engaged in an extensive, multi-faceted campaign of computer hacking and cyberstalking—that began in April 2016 and continued until the date of his arrest—against a 24-year-old female victim, her family, friends, and institutions associated with her.  Lin, the victim’s former roommate, directly or indirectly, allegedly hacked into the victim’s electronic devices and online accounts, stealing private photographs, personally identifiable information, and private journal entries that contained highly sensitive details about her medical, psychological, and sexual history.  It is alleged that Lin, directly or indirectly, then distributed the victim’s private photographs and journal entries to hundreds of others. 

It is further alleged that Lin, directly or indirectly, created and posted fraudulent online profiles in the victim’s name (with her photographs and home address) and solicited rape fantasies, including “gang bang” and other sexual activities, which in turn caused men, who the victim did not know, to show up at her home in search of sexual activity.  In addition, it is alleged that Lin, directly or indirectly, falsely and repeatedly reported to law enforcement that there were bombs at the victim’s Waltham residence.  Lin, directly or indirectly, also allegedly created a false social media profile in the name of the victim’s roommate in Waltham and posted that he was going to “shoot up” a school in a nearby town.  These threats were part of a larger pattern of threats to local schools and other institutions in her community.

The charges contained in a complaint are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office and the Watertown, Newton, and Wellesley police departments contributed to the investigation.  Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Harman Burkart of the District of Massachusetts are prosecuting the case. 

Updated October 6, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-1118