Former Local Employee Pleads Guilty to Extortion
CINCINNATI –Carlos Ruiz-Rodriguez, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio, has pleaded guilty to extortion against a Cincinnati-based company. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in August.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the plea entered into today before U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett.
Ruiz-Rodriguez pleaded guilty to intruding computers and stealing proprietary information from the company he worked for.
He had been employed at the company for approximately two years as a call center employee. In his role, he had access to the company’s customer service portal and personally identifiable information for certain clients.
Ruiz-Rodriguez sent multiple extortion emails to the company between November 2015 and January 2016 via the internet showing proof of compromise of the company’s data. He stated that if the company did not pay a Bitcoin ransom, then the company schematics and client data would be released to the public.
Ruiz-Rodriguez then posted the company’s data on an internet “dark web” forum and received two separate ransom payments from his employer totaling approximately $15,000.
Extortion is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI, and Assistant United States Attorney Tim Mangan, who is prosecuting the case.