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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 30, 2015

Springfield Men Indicted on Charges of Computer Hacking, Wire Fraud, and Identity Theft

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Twin brothers Muneeb and Sohaib Akhter, 23, of Springfield, Virginia, were indicted by a federal grand jury today on charges of aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to access a protected computer without authorization, access of a protected computer without authorization, conspiracy to access a government computer without authorization, false statements, and obstruction of justice.

According to the indictment, beginning in or about March 2014, the Akhter brothers and coconspirators hacked into the website of a cosmetics company and stole its customers’ credit card and personal information.  They used the stolen information to purchase goods and services, including flights, hotel reservations, and attendance at professional conferences.  In addition, the brothers and coconspirators devised a scheme to hack into computer systems at the U.S.  Department of State to access network traffic and to obtain passport information.

Muneeb Akhter faces a maximum penalty of 59 years in prison if convicted on all counts, and Sohaib Akhter faces a maximum penalty of 39 years in prison if convicted on all counts.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Gregory Marshall, Chief Security Officer, Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Gregory Starr, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security; and Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the indictment was returned.

This case was investigated by the Internal Security and Investigations Division of the Office of the Chief Security Officer, DHS Headquarters; the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and FBI’s Washington Field Office.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Taddei and Jennifer Clarke are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15-cr-124.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Updated April 30, 2015