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April 5, 12

NEWS / El Paso Businessman Indicted for Unauthorized Computer Access Waives Arraignment and Pleads Not Guil

United States Attorney Robert Pitman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark Morgan today announced that a federal grand jury in El Paso has indicted 37-year-old Joseph Paul Taylor in connection with an unauthorized computer intrusion.

On March 28, 2012, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging Taylor with two counts of computer fraud and one count of making a false statement to federal authorities. Taylor waived his arraignment scheduled for yesterday and by doing so, automatically entered a not-guilty plea to the charges.

Court documents allege that in December 2009, Taylor agreed to perform subcontractor work for SONISA, an El Paso-based company hired to implement a new telephone and data system for the San Jose, California-based educational institution Center for Employment Training (CET). As a result of a payment dispute, Taylor, without authorization, accessed CETís data system, and changed access codes. As a result of the intrusion, CETís network was shut down.

The indictment alleges that on April 28, 2010, Taylor transmitted a computer program or code which allowed him to gain unauthorized access to a computer system causing more than $5,000 in damages. The indictment further alleges that in May 2011, Taylor willfully made false statements to FBI agents investigating the computer intrusion. According to the indictment, in an effort to avoid an extensive investigation of his computer and questioning by FBI agents, Taylor falsely represented to investigators that he did not know the password used to commit the intrusion. The password was discovered during a subsequent forensic examination of the defendantís computer, which was seized from his residence during the execution of a search warrant in May 2011.

ďThis indictment represents the FBIís commitment to actively investigate and prosecute individuals who hide behind computers to engage in malicious hacking activities,Ē stated Special Agent in Charge Mark Morgan.

No trial date has been scheduled. Upon conviction, Taylor faces up to 10 years in federal prison on count one-computer fraud, five yearsí imprisonment on count 2-computer fraud, as well as five yearsí imprisonment on count 3-making a false statement.

It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


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