“Guccifer” gets 52 months in prison for hacking crimes

Guccifer hacked former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell as well as a the daughter of former President George H.W. Bush but lied about hacking into Hillary Clinton's email server


Marcel Lazar Lehel is escorted by masked policemen in Bucharest, after being arrested in Arad, 550 km (337 miles) west of Bucharest January 22, 2014.

Credit: Reuters

The U.S. Department of Justice today said Marcel Lazar, aka hacker “Guccifer,” was sentenced today to 52 months in prison for unauthorized access to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft.

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Lazar, originally from Romania, was extradited to the U.S. earlier this year and was awaiting this sentencing for breaking into the email and social media accounts of various U.S. officials including former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell as well as a the daughter of former President George H.W. Bush.

At one point Guccifer had claimed he broke into Hillary Clinton's private email server in 2013 but that turned out to be a lie, according to the FBI. 

The DoJ said according to admissions made in connection with his plea agreement, from at least October 2012 to January 2014, Lazar intentionally gained unauthorized access to personal email and social media accounts belonging to approximately 100 Americans, and he did so to unlawfully obtain his victims’ personal information and email correspondence.

In many instances, Lazar publically released his victims’ private email correspondence, medical and financial information and personal photographs, according to the statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, the DoJ stated.

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“Mr. Lazar violated the privacy of his victims and thought he could hide behind the anonymity of the Internet,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia at the time of his extradition.

Lazar faced a a nine-count indictment with three counts of wire fraud, three counts of gaining unauthorized access to protected computers, and one count each of aggravated identity theft, cyberstalking and obstruction of justice.  He could have gotten a maximum of 20 years in prison, with a two-year mandatory minimum for the aggravated identity theft charges.

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