Jesus Oquendo, aka Sil, who maintains the quirky site AntiOffline, has been convicted of computer trespass and eavesdropping and sentenced to 27 months in a minimum security federal jail and ordered to pay $96,385 in restitution. He reports on Monday to serve his time.
Oquendo maintains his innocence, and says he turned down a plea offer of only six months in order to sue his case in court. The trial went poorly for him, and the jury found him guilty on both charges.
The trouble began last year, shortly after the company he worked for, Collegeboardwalk.com, went bust. The company shared office space and network resources with one of its investors, Manhattan venture capital outfit Five Partners Asset Management.
According to the government's case, he used his access via Collegeboardwalk to alter Five Partners' system to send its password file to an e-mail dump which he controlled.
Using a sniffer, he was able to obtain the password of a Five Partners employee who had an account on another system belonging to Manhattan computer wholesaler RCS Computer Experience.
The government says Oquendo used that user's login information to break into the RCS network, grabbed the pass file, and deleted the company database, leaving the message: "Hello, I have just hacked into your system. Have a nice day."
Oquendo says that his ISP gave testimony which made it clear that he hadn't been on line at the time of the break in, and further that the prosecutor never established that he was the one who set up the e-mail dump.
The jury got confused by lengthy government testimony, he says, and was unable to understand it clearly enough to question it effectively.
He says the prosecutor, Robert Strang, was an absolute prick who did everything is his power to multiply his difficulties. He has high praise for Judge Loretta Preska, however, who he characterizes as completely impartial.
He could have received five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the two charges. The judge imposed the minimum sentences, and recommended him for the more commodious minimum security facility.
We've enjoyed AntiOffline's special blend of security/hacking news, political criticism and satire for quite some time. Oquendo says that others involved with the site will continue to update it while he's in stir, where, he says, he plans to spend his time studying. ®