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Cyber and Intellectual Crimes Section

Section Overview

The Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section investigates and prosecutes high-tech crimes, including both cyber-based attacks on the nation’s electronic infrastructure and economic crimes committed using computers, as well as on intellectual property crimes, such as theft of intellectual property and economic espionage.  The Central District is home to sensitive government computer installations, a significant high-tech industry, and the motion picture and recording industries.  Protecting the security of these industries is a priority of the United States Attorney’s Office, with particular emphasis on investigating and prosecuting sophisticated attacks on computer systems and intellectual property offenses.  The Section also prioritizes cyber threats to individuals including cyber stalking, online threats, “sextortion,” and similar crimes.

The Section also provides guidance to prosecutors throughout the Office on technological trends.  In addition, as a part of the National Security Division, the Cyber AUSAs work in conjunction with attorneys from the Terrorism and Export Control Section on all matters dealing with National Security.  The prosecutors in all of our cases, of course, rely on the incredible dedication and expertise of cyber investigators at the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Secret Service.

Because of the global nature of cyber threats, investigating and prosecuting cyber-enabled crime poses unique jurisdictional and technical challenges: cybercriminals operating in one foreign jurisdiction might use infrastructure in a second to victimize businesses or individuals located in other countries—all the while employing sophisticated technical methods to both magnify their capability for crime and shield them from law enforcement.  Cybercrime is global and, thus, we attack it globally, working closely with foreign governments to address this global problem. 

Click here for more information about the Office’s Cybersecurity Program.

Section Leadership

Stephanie S. Christensen   

Stephanie S. Christensen is the Chief of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section within the National Security Division.  Ms. Christensen joined the United States Attorney’s Office in 2008.  She has been part of the Cyber Section since 2010, and served as its Deputy Chief from August 2015 to March 2017.  She is a National Security Cyber Specialist and has served as the Intellectual Property Crimes Coordinator. 

Ms. Christensen has prosecuted some of the section’s most notable cases.  She was one of two lead prosecutors on the investigation into the cyber intrusion at Sony Pictures Entertainment, one of the most destructive cyber-attacks on U.S. soil. In 2015, she received the prestigious Director’s Award for Outstanding Cyber Investigation from the Director of the FBI for her leadership in that investigation. 

Ms. Christensen was part of the team that filed litigation against Apple Inc. following the San Bernardino terrorist attack.  She has also (co)prosecuted numerous cyber and intellectual property crime cases including the prosecution of Luis Mijangos, a hacker and sextortionist who used malware to control victim-computer webcams and microphones; the prosecution of several members of LulzSec, an international “hackavist” group that stole and published data from victim companies while taunting the victims over social media; and the prosecution of an ex-employee of an avionics company who stole his former employer’s trade secrets and distributed them to competitors.  

Prior to joining the Cyber Section, Ms. Christensen was a member of the OCDETF Section where she co-tried a case against Dr. Masoud Bamdad, a medical doctor turned drug dealer, who received a 25-year prison sentence for sales of oxycodone prescriptions which contributed to several overdose deaths.

Recent Cases

March 22, 2017
Press Release
Diamond Bar Man Pleads Guilty to Smuggling ED Drugs that Were Sold as ‘Herbal Enhancement’ Products without Prescriptions

February 22, 2017
Press Release
Romanian Man is 12th Defendant Sentenced in ATM Skimming Conspiracy

January 25, 2017
Press Release
Illinois Man Who Illegally Accessed Email Belonging to More Than 300 People, including Many Celebrities, Sentenced to Federal Prison

January 24, 2017
Press Release
Mission Viejo Man Sentenced to 6½ Years in Federal Prison for Orchestrating $2.3 Million Real Estate Investment Fraud Scheme

January 10, 2017
Press Release
Former Wife of Fugitive Chinese Official Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Commit Immigration Fraud Related to EB-5 Investor Visa

Section Contact Information

The United States Attorney's Office
Central District of California
Attn: Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section
312 North Spring Street, 15th floor
Los Angeles, California 90012

Individuals who wish to report activity that they believe may be related to terrorism should call the FBI at (310) 477-6565

Updated March 28, 2017