FBI San Diego
Special Agent Davene Butler
(858) 320-1800
November 4, 2014

FBI Cyber Fugitive John Gordon Baden Arrested in Mexico

FBI Special Agent in Charge, Eric S. Birnbaum is announcing the arrest of John Gordon Baden, age 38. Baden, who was considered one of San Diego FBI’s Most Wanted Cyber Fugitives, was arrested on Saturday, November 1, 2014, in Tijuana, Mexico, by officers from the Tijuana Municipal Police Department (TPD), who were working with FBI agents. Baden’s arrest comes 30 days after the FBI announced a reward for information leading to his arrest.

On Monday, November 3, 2014, at approximately 4:45 p.m., TPD officers and Mexican immigration officials transported Baden to the San Ysidro Port of Entry, where custody of Baden was turned over to Customs Border Protection officers and FBI agents. FBI agents transported and booked Baden into the San Diego County Central Jail pending his transfer to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Metropolitan Correctional Center later today.

On October 2, 2014, the FBI announced a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of Baden. Since that time the FBI has received a number of calls concerning the possible whereabouts of Baden. It was information from the public that ultimately contributed to the capture of Baden.

John Gordon Baden along with his co-conspirators were allegedly responsible for stealing the identities of 40,000 people and then using the stolen information to siphon funds from their brokerage or bank accounts and purchase expensive electronic items with their credit. The losses are estimated to be in the millions of dollars.

In July 2014, Baden along with his two co-conspirators, Jason Ray Bailey and Victor Alejandro Fernandez, were indicted by a federal grand jury seated in the Southern District of California, San Diego, California, on a number of federal charges to include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, computer hacking, aggravated identity theft, and wire fraud. Baden was indicted specifically on federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and computer hacking. The charges were the result of an FBI investigation into Baden and his two co-conspirators who operated a criminal enterprise that exploited vulnerabilities in computer servers of a U.S. mortgage broker.

According to the indictment, Baden and his co-conspirators obtained mortgage applications containing customers personal identification information such as names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, assets, tax information, and driver’s licenses by hacking into the company’s computer servers. While the criminal enterprise was based in Tijuana, Mexico, their victims stretched from California to Florida and states in between.

According to the indictment, during the period July 2011 to August 2013, Bailey, Fernandez, and Baden knowingly and intentionally engaged in a scheme whereby they would obtain and share log-in credentials that enabled them to gain unauthorized access to a U.S. mortgage broker company’s electronic customer records and the BlitzDocs computer application that the company used to manage these records.

Baden and his co-conspirators would then use log-in credentials without authorization to access BlitzDocs and the company’s electronic records and thereby steal customer’s personal identifiable information (PII). Baden and his co-conspirators would then use this stolen PII, along with PII stolen from other victims and businesses, to defraud merchants and financial institutions, for their private financial gain.

Baden will remain in custody pending his initial appearance in federal court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on Wednesday, November 5, 2014. This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California, San Diego, California.

- Original press release