W-B man charged with computer hacking

A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted a city man on computer hacking charges.

Justin Bodnar, 27, of Wilkes-Barre, was charged with one count each of illegally accessing a protected computer and intentionally damaging a protected computer connected to incidents in 2012 and 2013, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Bodnar, identified on his Facebook page as a computer science student at Wilkes University, declined to comment when messaged Wednesday.

The indictment alleges Bodnar hacked a computer in 2013 to access the emails of someone in an attempt to sell the contents. The victim in that case is identified in court papers only as “T.L.”

The second count stems from several incidents in 2012 in which Bodnar hacked the computers of his former employer and damaged the machines, according to prosecutors. The employer is also unidentified in the indictment, which lists only owners with the initials “M.S.” and “C.S.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said she could not comment further on the charges.

Prosecutors say Bodnar faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted.

An arraignment was set for Dec. 29 before Magistrate Judge Joseph F. Saporito Jr.

Bodnar’s attorney was out of the office for the rest of the week and unavailable for comment.

Court records identify Bodnar as a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit brought by the child victims of disgraced kids-for-cash judges Mark A. Ciavarella and Michael T. Conahan.

Bodnar, whose case was spotlighted in the 2014 documentary “Kids for Cash,” was locked up for mouthing off to a woman at his school bus stop.

Barry Dyller, a Wilkes-Barre-based attorney who said he has helped Bodnar in the past, said he was “really sorry” to see federal prosecutors go after him as they did.

“I think that Justin Bodnar is a great kid,” Dyller said. “I think the U.S. attorney should look at the entire circumstance and realize this is a kid who was really taken advantage of.”

The corrupt judges were eventually convicted of shipping children to for-profit juvenile detention centers in exchange for $2.8 million in kickbacks from Robert J. Powell, a former Drums-based lawyer, and from the builder of the centers.

Ciavarella, 66, is serving a 28-year prison sentence at Federal Correctional Institution-Ashland in Kentucky. Conahan, 64, who pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges, is now serving 17½ years in prison at Federal Correctional Institution Coleman in Florida.


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