California Woman Charged with Possessing Cell Phone Spyware and Using It to Intercept Communications
SAN JOSE—Kristin Nyunt was charged by information today with two counts of illegal wiretapping and the possession of illegal interception devices, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.
According to the information, from 2010 to 2012, Nyunt, 40, most recently of Monterey Calif., is alleged to have intercepted communications, including sensitive law enforcement communications, by means that included “spy software” that the defendant secretly installed on the mobile phone of a police officer. The information also alleges that during the same period she illegally possessed interception devices, namely spy software including Mobistealth, StealthGenie, and mSpy, knowing that the design of those products renders them primarily useful for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of wire, oral, and electronic communications.
Previously, on Sept. 29, 2014, the Department of Justice announced the indictment of Hammad Akbar, 31, of Lahore, Pakistan, the chief executive officer of InvoCode Pvt Ltd, the company that advertises and sells StealthGenie online. Akbar and his co-conspirators allegedly created the spyware, which could intercept communications to and from mobile phones, including Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, and Blackberry Limited’s Blackberry.
Nyunt’s initial appearance is scheduled for October 23, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. before the Honorable Howard R. Lloyd, Magistrate Court Judge, in San Jose.
An information merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years and a fine of $250,000 for each violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2511(1)(a) (Interception of Communications) and 2512(1)(b) (Possession of Interception Device Transported in Interstate Commerce). However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Philip A. Guentert is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elise Etter. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI and the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.