June 26, 2015

New York City Private Investigator Who Hacked into E-Mail Accounts Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to Three Months in Prison

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ERIC SALDARRIAGA, a private investigator in New York City, was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to three months in prison. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan. SALDARRIAGA pled guilty to conspiracy to commit computer hacking before Judge Sullivan on March 6, 2015.

According to the allegations in documents filed in Manhattan federal court, and statements made at today’s sentencing and other court proceedings:

The defendant, a private investigator, owned a company that provided private investigation services to members of the public for a fee. Beginning in 2009, SALDARRIAGA, through services advertised on the Internet (the “Hacking Services”), hired individuals to hack into the e-mail accounts of almost 50 different victims. For certain victims, SALDARRIAGA attempted to gain unlawful access to more than one e-mail account. SALDARRIAGA used the Hacking Services to access, unlawfully and secretly, the e-mail accounts of individuals he investigated on behalf of his clients, as well as individuals in whom SALDARRIAGA was interested for personal reasons.

SALDARRIAGA paid the Hacking Services to provide him with login credentials, including usernames and passwords, for victims’ e-mail accounts. SALDARRIAGA then unlawfully accessed and reviewed victims’ e-mail communications. In total, SALDARRIAGA hired the Hacking Services to hack into, and provide unauthorized access to, at least 60 different e-mail accounts.

In addition to the prison term, SALDARRIAGA, 41, of Queens, New York, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $5,000 and pay a $1,000 fine.

Mr. Bharara praised the FBI for their outstanding work in the investigation.

This matter is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Noble is in charge of the case.