Inquiring minds want to know, since two of Mayor Anthony Silva’s friends are under federal investigation for an alleged hacking plot.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office said charges could vary.
“Anytime there is an investigation, there are several ways to prosecute,” said Lauren Horwood, Public Information Officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California.
“You can prosecute a drug trafficker with possession, with conspiracy, or using a cellphone to facilitate a crime. And sometimes there are pre-charging negotiations that end up with either no charges (which is why we don’t confirm or deny an investigation) or minor charges. So I couldn’t say on the one hand that I cannot confirm or deny an investigation and then speculate on what code section would be used,” Horwood said.
I pressed Horwood — surely she could at least point to the code sections of law allegedly violated — and she sent the case of Matthew Keys. A KXTL Fox 40 employee, Keys allegedly contacted the hacker group Anonymous after he was fired. They allegedly plotted to monkey wrench Fox 40′s computers.
Keys was charged with 18 USC 371, Conspiracy to Damage a Protected Computer. That crime, if deemed a felony, is punishable by imprisonment by up to five years. Other sections authorize asset forfeiture, presumably the computers at issue and any ill-gotten gains.
Up to five years, then. Though, as Horwood says, charges in the Stockton case may differ.
Sunday’s column on the subject here.