A New York Police Department (NYPD) officer has been arrested and charged with hacking into NYPD and FBI traffic databases in order to steal personal data relating to victims so that he could hustle them for money.
Yehuda Katz, an NYPD Auxiliary Deputy Inspector assigned to the 70th Precinct in Brooklyn, faces ten years in prison for allegedly stealing personal identifying information of traffic accident victims and posing as a fake lawyer in order to 'help' victims win legal claims.
According to the FBI, Katz is accused of surreptitiously installing multiple electronic devices in the Traffic Safety Office of the NYPD's 70th Precinct that enabled him to remotely access restricted NYPD computers and law enforcement databases.
He is also charged with accessing an FBI database that he did not have permission to access, and one of the electronic devices he is alleged to have installed contained a hidden camera that could capture live images from the Traffic Safety Office and was capable of streaming the image on the internet.
"The defendant allegedly used his position as an auxiliary officer to hack into restricted computers and networks in order to obtain the personal information of thousands of citizens in a scheme to enrich himself through fraud," stated United States Attorney Lynch.
"The threat posed by those who abuse positions of trust to engage in insider attacks is serious, and we will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to vigorously prosecute such attacks."
All in all, Katz allegedly succeeded in running 6,400 queries into the NYPD and FBI databases via remote access. He is accused of having posed as a lawyer from the fictitious "Katz and Katz law firm" and used the information he obtained to send letters out to the victims of traffic accidents.
The FBI said the letters included claims such as "I can advise you with 100% confidence that I can resolve this claim in your favour," and "My fee is 14% only when you collect. And I know that you will collect."