Former Employee Charged with Attempted Extortion
HOUSTON – A 28-year-old former employee of BP Corporation North America Inc. has been charged with five counts of wire fraud, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
On Nov. 29, 2017, a federal grand jury in Houston returned a five-count indictment against George Koutsostamatis, of Chicago.
He was taken into custody in Chicago last week. He made his appearance in Houston federal court this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Palermo. Trial has been set for Jan. 29, 2018, before U.S. District Sim Lake.
According to the indictment, Koutsostamatis was an employee of BP. While employed there, Koutsostamatis allegedly emailed BP and falsely represented to them that he had infiltrated BP’s computer network system. He then allegedly demanded payment or he would release information stored on the computer network.
If convicted of wire fraud, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
The FBI Houston Cyber Task Force investigated this case. The FBI Houston Cyber Task Force is a multi-agency task force responsible for investigating, pursuing and defeating cyber criminals who seek to exploit our nation’s most significant computer systems, networks and critical infrastructure. The Houston field office of the FBI led the investigation with assistance from U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Houston and Chicago, FBI – Chicago field office and the National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.