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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Newton Man Sentenced to Over 17 Years in Prison for Extensive Cyberstalking Campaign

Defendant waged cyberstalking campaigns against seven individuals, hacking computers, sending child pornography and making more than 120 hoax bomb threats

BOSTON - A Newton man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for conducting an extensive cyberstalking campaign against his former housemate, her family members, co-workers, friends, and other unrelated individuals. The defendant hacked into his former housemate’s online accounts, posted fraudulent sexual solicitations in the victims’ names, sent unsolicited images of child pornography, and made over 120 hoax bomb threats.  

Ryan S. Lin, 25, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young to 210 months in prison and five years of supervised release, after pleading guilty in April 2018 to seven counts of cyberstalking, five counts of distribution of child pornography, nine counts of making hoax bomb threats, three counts of computer fraud and abuse and one count of aggravated identity theft. Lin was arrested in October 2017, and has been in custody since.

From approximately May 2016 through Oct. 5, 2017, Lin engaged in a cyberstalking campaign against his housemate, a 25-year-old female victim. Lin hacked into the victim’s online accounts and devices and stole the victim’s private photographs, personally identifiable information, and private diary entries, which contained sensitive details about her medical, psychological and sexual history, and distributed the material to hundreds of people associated with her.

Lin also created and posted fraudulent online profiles in the victim’s name and solicited rape fantasies, including a “gang bang,” and other sexual activities, which in turn caused men to show up at the victim’s home. He also engaged in a number of other activities targeting the victim, including relentless anonymous text messaging and hoaxes.

In addition to his former housemate, Lin engaged in cyberstalking activity aimed at six other individuals. Some were associated with the primary victim, and others were unrelated. The additional victims include two women who were Lin’s housemates in Newton at the time of his arrest. On multiple occasions, Lin sent unsolicited sexually explicit images of prepubescent children to the primary victim’s mother, the victim’s co-worker and housemate, a friend of the victim who resided in New Jersey, and two of Lin’s former classmates in New York.

Furthermore, Lin falsely and repeatedly reported to law enforcement that there were bombs at the primary victim’s Waltham residence. Lin also created a false social media profile in the name of the primary victim’s housemate in Waltham and posted that he was going to “shoot up” a school in Waltham, stating that there would be “blood and corpses everywhere.” These threats became part of a prolonged pattern of threats in Waltham, and eventually in surrounding towns, including schools, homes, businesses and other institutions.  

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Office; and Waltham Police Chief Keith MacPherson made the announcement today. The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office and the Watertown, Newton and Wellesley Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Harman Burkart, Chief of Lelling’s Cybercrime Unit, and Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section prosecuted the case. 

Topic(s): 
Cyber Crime
Identity Theft
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated October 3, 2018