Thibodaux Man Pleads Guilty to Extensive Computer Hacking Scheme Involving Nearly 50 Victims
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that BRADER YELVERTON, age 24, of Thibodaux, pled guilty today to a one-count Bill of Information charging him with unauthorized access of a protected computer.
According to court documents, between about 2013 and December 2015, YELVERTON accessed the personal online accounts, including email, educational, social media, and “cloud” storage accounts of at least 49 individuals without their knowledge or authorization. All of the individuals whose accounts YELVERTON accessed without authorization were individuals he knew. The vast majority of the victims were females, as well as several of their significant others.
YELVERTON obtained access to an account by using publicly accessible information, or information he knew about the victim, to isolate the password for one of the accounts, usually his/her social media account. YELVERTON then used the information contained in the social media account to obtain the password to other accounts of the victim. Once he obtained access to the accounts, YELVERTON changed the passwords so that he could continue to access them. After YELVERTON obtained access to the accounts, he searched through them and obtained personal information of the victims, including, in some cases, sensitive photographs of the victims.
In the case of one victim, YELVERTON viewed not more than 380 pictures stored on her various online accounts. After saving some of the pictures to his personal computer, YELVERTON uploaded at least two private, sensitive photographs of the victim that he obtained from her private accounts onto an online anonymous image trading board that provides for state-specific and city-specific fora for individuals to upload, view, download, and trade images. During the upload process, YELVERTON entitled the images using the first name and last initial of the victim, so that other visitors to the website could readily identify the victim.
If convicted, YELVERTON faces a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than five years in prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey set sentencing for November 26, 2016.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg is in charge of the prosecution.