- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 29, 2016

An indiscrete attempt at swindling more than $1.5 million from the government is outlined in charging documents unsealed this week against Dwayne C. Hans, a 27-year-old resident of Richland, Washington, accused of repeatedly using his real name and Social Security number during a months-long cyber scheme.

Mr. Hans was arrested in Richland on Wednesday in connection with a previously sealed federal case in New York concerning a series of frauds he’s accused of perpetrating against the U.S. government and an unidentified financial institution.

According to prosecutors, Mr. Hans stole $134,000 from the unnamed bank and nearly got away with swiping $1.5 million more from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), an independent agency of the U.S. government.

The not-so-sophisticated scheme is described in a 10-page affidavit filed by the FBI in support of his arrest where investigators lay out their evidence against the alleged fraudster.

The FBI says the plot began in March 2016 when Mr. Hans allegedly started using the internet to open five accounts at the unnamed bank and attempted to link one of them with an account held by the unnamed institution at JP Morgan.

Each of the five accounts was created in the name “Dwayne C. Hans” and used the defendant’s personally identifiably information, including home address, birthdate and Social Security Number, and could be traced back to his home internet connection, according to the affidavit.

The following month, according to the FBI, someone using the email address “[email protected]” gained unauthorized access access to an U.S. General Service Administration website and began altering files related the unnamed financial institution.

Specifically, prosecutors say Mr. Hans edited the entry from his home internet so the record correlated with his own bank account instead of the institution’s, then changed the point of contact to his own name.

Between April and June, prosecutors say Mr. Hans initiated roughly $134,000 in bogus transfer from the bank’s JP Morgan account using the scheme. In addition to using the funds to buy stocks and invest in real estate using his full name, prosecutors say Mr. Hans also paid two internet service bills for the very account he was using to commit the crimes.

While Mr. Hans is accused of getting away with heisting six figures from the unnamed bank, investigators say he nearly stole more than ten times that amount. PBGC attempted to transfer roughly $1.5 million into the account of the bank whose entry had been allegedly edited by Mr. Hans, but “These transfers were ultimately detected and disrupted before the defendant withdrew or transferred the money,” the affidavit said.

“Criminals who exploit the internet to commit crimes think they can hide behind the virtual veil of a computer screen. But just as today’s charges remind us that everyone is at risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime, so too should the public be reminded that the FBI will continue to be a major force in confronting those who think they can evade the law,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. said in a statement.

Mr. Hans is slated to appear in court in Spokane on Monday when a judge will decide if he should stay in custody pending his extradition to the Eastern District of New York where the indictment was filed. He’s been formally charged counts of wire fraud, computer fraud and money laundering.

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