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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Mobile Man Federally Indicted for Cyber Intrusion and Theft of Trade Secrets from Pensacola Company

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Timothy J. Smith, 42, of Mobile, Alabama, was arraigned today in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola after a federal grand jury returned an indictment, unsealed today, charging him with computer fraud, theft of trade secrets, and interstate threatening communications.  Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the indictment.

U.S. Attorney Keefe said: “The U.S. Attorney’s Office takes very seriously cyber intrusions of all kinds, ranging from protecting our national security to the secrets of private industries.  In our increasingly online society, cyber security is vital to all of us as we conduct Internet transactions and conversations so that we can be confident our identities and personal information are protected.”

The indictment alleges that Smith was a software engineer in Mobile, Alabama.  StrikeLines, LLC, the alleged victim in the indictment, is a Pensacola based company that uses commercial side scan sonar equipment to locate fishing reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and sells coordinates using an interactive map on their website.

Between April and November 2018, Smith allegedly obtained information valued at more than $5,000 from a protected computer without authorization, stole sonar coordinates of reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, and transmitted a threat to injure the property and reputation of StrikeLines.  

The maximum penalties are 5 years in prison for computer fraud, 10 years in prison for theft of trade secrets, and 2 years in prison for interstate threatening communications.  The trial is scheduled for May 13, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. at the United States Courthouse in Pensacola.

This case resulted from an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.  Senior Litigation Counsel David L. Goldberg is prosecuting the case as he is the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Coordinator and National Security Cyber Specialist for the Northern District of Florida.

An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

Topic(s): 
Cyber Crime
Contact: 
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer amy.alexander@usdoj.gov
Updated April 9, 2019