FBI quashes scammer scheme to extort AIG customers with identity fraud

As if things weren't bad enough for insurance giant AIG customers and others being raked by the current financial crisis now the cyber-vultures are out looking for an easy buck.

The FBI Cyber Crime Task Force said it had arrested  the first person under a  new computer fraud law that makes it a federal crime to commit extortion relating to unauthorized access of, or damage to, a protected computer system or to impair the confidentiality of information obtained from that computer.

Specifically, Kevin Michael Stewart of Indianapolis is facing federal charges stemming from the March 31, 2006 burglary of a computer server from the Indianapolis office of Medical Excess LLC, a member company of AIG. The server contained personally identifying and health care sensitive information for over 900,000 policy holders. Stewart is also accused of extorting AIG for $208,000 under a threat to release the data onto the Internet beginning on July 23, 2008, according to the FBI. If convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison.

"Stewart is believed to be the first person in the United States to be charged under this new criminal statute, which is designed to address the theft of large data sets from organizations and the resulting consequences," commented Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota, in a release. 

According to the FBI, AIG reported the theft and worked with the agency to keep data from being violated, though more information on what AIG did was not forthcoming.

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