Former Local Employee Sentenced to 15 Months for Extortion
Ordered to Pay More Than Half a Million Dollars in Restitution
CINCINNATI –Carlos Ruiz-Rodriguez, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was sentenced to 15 months for extortion against a Cincinnati-based company.
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 sentence handed down yesterday by U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett.
Ruiz-Rodriguez was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2016. He pleaded guilty on November 30, 2016 to intruding computers, stealing proprietary information from his employer, and then extorting his employer.
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. He used credentials for another employee to obtain the proprietary company information.
Ruiz-Rodriguez sent multiple extortion emails to the company between November 2015 and January 2016 via the internet claiming that he had hacked the company. He also provided 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, through an intermediary, then posted the company’s data on an internet “dark web” forum and received two separate ransom payments from the employer totaling approximately $15,000. Ruiz-Rodriguez was also ordered to pay restitution of $277,278.98 to the employer and $259,212.74 to the employer’s insurer.
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.