Hacker allegedly cut off electricity

LOS ANGELES - A convicted felon and alleged hacker deported from Sweden will face criminal prosecution for stealing the identities of numerous victims and waging cyber attacks on a Beverly Hills business and on justice system officials, the district attorney's office announced.Steven Grant Almeida, 32, was scheduled to be arraigned last week. "This cowardly cyber criminal will no longer be able to hide behind the anonymity of the Internet," said district attorney Steve Cooley. "He will be thoroughly exposed in court for the incredible harm he has wreaked on so many." Almeida faces 71 felony charges including identity theft, wiretapping, cutting a utility line, unauthorized disruption/denial of computer services, computer intrusion and grand theft. Almeida is accused of disrupting the business operations of a Beverly Hills Pilates studio by hijacking its phone lines and website. After allegedly gaining illegal control of the website, prosecutors allege he defaced the site. Almeida is also accused of stealing the identities of four justice system officials. He purportedly used the victims' personal identifying information to shut off the electricity at their homes and gained access to credit card accounts. He also hacked into the private e-mail account of at least one victim. Bail for Almeida was recommended at more than $2.3 million. If convicted, he faces 97 years in prison. Almedia was sentenced to five years in prison in 2007 for shooting at an inhabited dwelling.

********** Published: June 07, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 08