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Press Release

Indianapolis Man Pleads Guilty in Pittsburgh-based Darkode Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Indianapolis, Indiana, pleaded guilty in federal court in Pittsburgh to a charge of violating the CAN-SPAM ACT, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Phillip Fleitz, 31, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Maurice B. Cohill, Jr. Fleitz is one of 12 individuals charged in connection with a significant computer hacking forum known as Darkode, which has been dismantled.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Fleitz knowingly used a protected computer to relay or retransmit multiple commercial electronic mail messages with the intent to deceive or mislead recipients.

Judge Cohill scheduled sentencing for Nov. 24, 2015, at 2 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney James T. Kitchen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Phillip Fleitz.

Updated September 1, 2015