SAN JOSE – Kristin Nyunt pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose today, to wiretapping charges, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.
In pleading guilty, Nyunt admitted that from 2010 to 2012 she possessed spy software, including Mobistealth, StealthGenie, and mSpy, knowing that they were primarily useful for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of wire, oral, and electronic communications. She purchased and downloaded this software on-line, via the Internet, and eventually installed the software on cell phones and computers involved in communications that she intended to intercept.
This spyware had functions that allowed her to record phone calls, texts, voicemail, e-mail, appointments, digital address and contact information, photographs and videos, and oral conversations involving the phones and computers that she corrupted. The communications she intercepted included private e-mail communication and texts between individuals who were unaware that she was monitoring them. In one instance, she was paid money by the husband of a victim to spy on her and intercept her private communications using this software.
Nyunt further admitted that she repeatedly used a feature of the spyware that allowed her to activate the microphone of a cell phone, without the consent or knowledge of its user, for the purpose of eavesdropping on and recording oral conversations that were taking place in the vicinity of the phone, all without the consent or knowledge of the participants in those conversations. Among the communications she thus intercepted included sensitive law enforcement communication, which she accomplished by surreptitiously installing spyware on the cellular telephone of a police officer without his consent or knowledge.
Previously, on Sept. 29, 2014, the Department of Justice announced the indictment of Hammad Akbar, 31, of Lahore, Pakistan, the chief executive officer of InvoCode Pvt Ltd, the company that advertises and sells StealthGenie online. Akbar and his co-conspirators allegedly created the spyware, which could intercept communications to and from mobile phones, including Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, and Blackberry Limited’s Blackberry.
The investigation of Nyunt by the FBI was conducted jointly with investigators from the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office. As a result of this joint investigation, Nyunt pleaded guilty in state court earlier this year to burglary, forgery, identity theft, and unlawful computer access charges.
Nyunt, age 40, most recently of Monterey Calif., was charged by information on Oct. 17, 2014, with one count of interception of communications, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2511(1)(a) and 4(a), and one count of possession of interception devices, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2512(1)(b). Under the plea agreement, Nyunt pleaded guilty to both counts.
Nyunt’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 23, 2014, at 1:30 pm before the Honorable Edward J. Davila, United States District Court Judge, in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of conviction is five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Philip A. Guentert is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elise Etter. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI jointly with investigators from the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.
(Nyunt information October 17, 2014 )