Five in United States arrested in global hacking scheme

Jan. 24, 2014 at 3:23 PM

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Five U.S. citizens have been charged with fraud in a global operation in which computer hackers stole and then sold email account passwords, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California said in a news release Friday two operators of a U.S.-based hacking website and three customers of hacking websites in other nations have been charged, following an international law enforcement operation involving Romania, India and China.

Mark Anthony Townsend, 45, of Cedarville, Ark., and Joshua Alan Tabor, 29, of Prairie Grove, Ark., face felony charges for selling nearly 6,000 email account passwords to customers of their email hacking website, needapassword.com.

John Ross Jesensky, 30, of Northridge, Calif.; Laith Nona, 31, of Troy, Mich.; and Arthur Drake, 55, of New York, face misdemeanor charges for allegedly obtaining passwords illegally.

Jesensky allegedly paid $21,675 to a Chinese website to get passwords, the release said.

The cases were announced Friday after authorities in Romania, India, and China arrested six suspects on charges relating to the alleged hacking scheme.

All five U.S. defendants are expected to plead guilty in the coming weeks, prosecutors said.

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