3 Students Indicted in FAMU Hacking Case
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Carl Joseph Coutard, 21, and Carliss Pereira, 22, both of Miami, and Christopher J. Wright, 22, of Fort Lauderdale, were charged Feb. 5 with conspiring to access the iRattler computer system at the Florida A&M University (FAMU) in order to divert financial aid money to themselves.
The eight-count indictment alleges that between March and November 2010, the three men illegally used the personal identifying information of their fellow FAMU students, without the students’ permission, to access the students’ financial aid information in the iRattler system. As alleged in the indictment, the defendants then changed the students’ bank account and routing information without the students’ knowledge or consent. When the students were due to receive financial aid refunds, the defendants would divert the money to bank accounts the defendants had fraudulently opened in the students’ names.
In addition to conspiracy, Wright is charged with one count of using an unauthorized access device, Coutard and Pereira are charged with possession of more than 15 unauthorized access devices, and Coutard is charged with obtaining information from a protected computer without authorization. The unauthorized access device offenses are punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The computer intrusion and conspiracy offenses each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
All three men are also charged with aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory term of two years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence.
U.S. Attorney Marsh praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FAMU Police Department, the United States Department of Education, the United States Secret Service, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, whose joint investigation led to the indictment in the case.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Rhew-Miller.
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