A man has received 10 years in prison for hacking and stalking dozens of victims online.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle sentenced Michael Daniel Reubens, 31, to 10 years in prison for online stalking, gaining unauthorized access to a protected computer, and aggravated identity theft.
The convicted will need to pay a $15,000 fine and $1,550 in restitution costs in addition to serving out his prison sentence, reports Syracuse.com.
Court documents reveal that Reubens stalked more than a dozen young women online between January 2012 and January 2015.
In one instance, the criminal hacked into a victim's university Blackboard portal email account. A police investigation later determined that Reubens had 470 files with over 5,000 references of the victim stored on his MacBook Pro.
The Washington Post writes that the stalker also compromised the accounts and privacy of his former co-workers.
After finding the Facebook profile of one woman who worked in the same building as him, he figured out her Yahoo! email account and password and abused that access to find nude pictures she had sent to her husband. Reubens then posted those images online, and someone she knew ultimately recognized her.
For another victim, it was even worse. Records show that the man hacked into his ex-girlfriend's coworker's sister's account and posted a doctored image of the co-worker performing oral sex online. He also shared that image with the co-worker's 15-year-old nephew, with whom he had been maintaining correspondence.
Reubens was arrested in January 2015 and indicted in September.
When he pled guilty to his offences in December, his legal counsel asked Judge Hinkle for leniency, arguing that online stalking is not as serious an offence as robbery or drug dealing. Apparently, the judge disagreed.
"This sentence sends an unequivocal message to anyone tempted to use a computer as a weapon to victimize and steal the identities of others: Expect to be prosecuted. And expect to go to prison," acting United States attorney Canova stated, as quoted by Help Net Security.
This case was investigated by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, the Florida State University Police Department, and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason S. Beaton.