As criminal attorneys focused on white collar investigations and jury trials, we have seen a noticeable increase in the prosecution of computer related crimes. This is no surprise as United States Attorney Eric Holder has made the prosecution of “cyber crime” a priority for his administration. It is the Attorney General’s responsibility to assist legislators in drafting laws that address crimes involving rapidly changing technologies. In addition, his office must develop investigative techniques to solve cyber crimes – crimes which are typically committed by more sophisticated and savvy individuals with no eye witnesses.
There has been a noticeable increase in recent years in prosecutions for computer crimes such as identity theft, unauthorized access to computer databases, wire fraud related to illegal use of the internet, child pornography, internet child enticement, and the like.
There seems to also have been more international cooperation with the Attorney General in the prosecution of alleged cyber criminals abroad. For several years, Nigerian check scams, eBay fraud and the like were rampant, but difficult for prosecutors to stop due to the fact they were being committed by faceless computers from thousands of miles away. With more focus on capturing those responsible for these international schemes, there have been more extraditions and prosecutions in the United States such as the prosecution of Emmanuel Ekhator who is accused of stealing over $32 million dollars from 80 United States law firms from over seas in a fraudulent counterfeit check scheme initiated over the internet.
With this zealous focus on cyber crimes, the technology used by cyber criminals evolves at a faster pace than the technology of law enforcement. It is believed that cyber criminals have developed technology in some cases that allow them to remotely access the computers of unknowing persons and commit crimes from their computers without the owners’ knowledge or involvement. This is dangerous for those charged with computer crimes, and it must be determined if they are the actual perpetrator, or an innocent patsy whose computer was hijacked.
With our day to day lives being conducted on the internet through social media, email, and even online banking, cyber crime is not going anywhere, and we expect more innocent computer owners will find their computers being utilized by remote criminals. If you find yourself charged with a computer related crime, it is important for you to contact a knowledgeable criminal attorney who has experience in representing those accused of technological crime.