Woman accused of spoofing FBI agent

SEAL BEACH - A Seal Beach woman was arrested last Thursday for allegedly using spoofing technology to impersonate FBI agents in phone calls to business clients who believed she was running a fraud scheme, law enforcement officials announced.Karen Elaine Hanover, 44, was arrested without incident at Fashion Island in Newport Beach by FBI special agents. She was charged with impersonating a federal agent in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, Hanover operated a real estate service that charged clients a $30,000 "consulting fee" in exchange for providing unique information about favorable commercial properties. When some clients concluded that Hanover failed to deliver the promised services, they complained about her operation on an Internet blog and encouraged others to report Hanover's suspected fraudulent activity to the FBI and other federal authorities. Last year, one of Hanover's unsatisfied clients was contacted on the phone by a caller with a male voice who claimed to be an FBI agent and whose caller ID was for the main number of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Division. During the call, the "agent" threatened to imprison Hanover's client if she did not stop complaining about her, officials said. An investigation by the FBI revealed that calls from the purported male FBI agent were actually made from Hanover's cellular phone. Hanover used a website to alter her voice and to alter her caller ID to spoof the FBI's phone number, authorities said. FBI officials say Hanover also used spoofing technology to call other disgruntled clients. If convicted, Hanover faces three years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

********** Published: February 17, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 44