- US Navy couple has been charged for allegedly selling stolen IDs for Bitcoin.
- The prosecutors said they generated over $160,000 through the sale of the information.
A federal grand jury in Fresno, California, has reportedly charged a US Navy couple for allegedly stealing and selling the identities of about 9,000 people in exchange for Bitcoin. The defendants are, namely, Marquis Asaad Hooper and Natasha Renee Chalk, according to the report by NBC Los Angeles on Wednesday. The 30-year-old husband, Hooper, is an ex-Navy officer, while the wife serves at the Naval Air Station Lemoore in California.
As reported, Hooper falsely told a company holding million of public identities that the Navy’s Seventh Fleet – where he served – needed to make background research on Navy personnel, which the company consented to. Hooper, according to the prosecutors, added his wife to the database instead, and some other unnamed persons. Later on, the US Navy couple used their access to steal over 9,000 individuals’ personal information from the company’s database.
Per the indictment, the US Navy couple generated over $160,000 by selling that stolen information, which was allegedly used by the buyers to commit identity theft. The couples have been charged by the jury with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and wire fraud.
Couple to face 20 years in prison
However, the attorney speaking on Hooper’s behalf, Michael McKneely, refuted the government’s claims, saying that the US Navy couple only accessed the company’s database as part of their work. He further argued that the government didn’t even talk with his client to learn what their intention was. He noted:
“The government’s allegations … are obscuring the fact that basically they are alleging these two people, Hooper and Ms Chalk, accessed commercially available databases that are used by people like you and me everyday.”
Both Hooper and his wife have been arrested and will face a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail, per the report.