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A Pennsylvanian bloke will spend two to four years behind bars for trying to hire a hacker on Craigslist to erase his court fines.
Zachary Landis, 27, admitted to Lancaster County Court he tried to hire someone to illegally access court records and strike a $16,000 debt he owed for previous charges. That someone wasn’t a hacker – it was an undercover police detective.
The would-be criminal mastermind posted an ad to classified site Craigslist seeking a cyber-genius who could break into the county court’s records system and wipe the balance of what he owed.
According to ABC27 news, Landis used his personal email address and real phone number to make the post. Not exactly Danny Ocean, this one.
The ad caught the attention of a detective who presented himself to Landis as a hacker. The two then corresponded about the planned network intrusion, during which Landis handed over the ID numbers of his previous convictions, and asked for a small portion of the debt to be erased as proof of the hacker’s skills before paying.
Obviously, the police were able to trace the contact details and ID numbers back to Landis, and arrested him. On Wednesday last week, Landis pleaded guilty to felony counts of computer trespass, tampering with public records, and unlawful use of a computer.
He was jailed for at least two years by Judge Dennis Reinaker. And he still has to pay the $16,000 he owes from the previous charges: $9,000 to an assault victim, and the rest for two DUI convictions.
Landis isn’t the first person to be foiled trying to hire criminals online. Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht was nabbed and convicted in part by his online attempts to hire a hitman who (of course) turned out to be an undercover cop.