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Computer Fraud

Our experienced Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers skillfully defendant federal computer crime cases in Federal Courts throughout New York State.

If you have been charged with a computer crime, or believe that you may be charged with a computer crime, you should contact a skilled federal criminal defense lawyer right away to protect your rights and your reputation. If there is any indication that you might be suspected of a crime, do not give a statement to the police or discuss the matter with anyone. Instead, contact a lawyer right away to minimize the likelihood that you will be charged.

Computer crime is broadly defined by the United States Department of Justice as “any violations of criminal law that involve a knowledge of computer technology for their perpetration, investigation, or prosecution.” A computer can be categorized in three different ways depending on the computer’s role in the crime. A computer may be (1) the “object” of a crime; (2) the “subject” of a crime; or (3) an “instrument” used to commit crime.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984 centralizes federal computer crimes under one statute:

(1) 18 U.S,C. § 1030(a)(1) makes it a federal crime to knowingly access government computers to obtain classified information;

(2) 18 U.S,C. § 1030(a)(2) makes it a federal crime to access a computer without authorization or in excess of such authorization to obtain financial information from a financial institution, or a department of the U.S. Government.

(3) 18 U.S.C. §1030(a)(3) makes it a federal crime to access government computers intentionally and without authorization.

(4) 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(4) makes it a federal crime to access and fraudulently use a protected computer (defined as any computer used by or for the U.S. Government or a financial institution, or a computer used in interstate or foreign commerce or communications) to obtain anything valued at more than $5,000 in any one-year period.

(5) 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5) makes it a federal crime to knowing cause the transmission of a virus and intentionally cause damage to a protected computer.

(6) 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(6) makes it a federal crime to knowingly and with intent to defraud, traffics any password or similar information through which a government computer may be accessed without authorization, or a non-government computer if such trafficking affects interstate or foreign commerce.

The United States Department of Justice takes computer crimes very seriously and a conviction can even result in life imprisonment.

The types of defenses available to a person charged with computer crime will vary with the facts of the case, and include identity, intent, authorization, entrapment, insanity or diminished responsibility, the statute of limitations, and res judicata. In addition to all of these defenses, the accused can also rely on a general denial, which implicitly argues that there is insufficient evidence to justify a finding of guilty or to meet the prosecution’s burden of proof.

If you or a family member have been charged with a computer crime, or if you think that you may be charged with a computer crime, please contact us for a free consultation to ensure that your rights are protected.