The Story: Robert Purbeck, of Meridian, Idaho, made his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Boise, Idaho. Purbeck was indicted in the Northern District of Georgia on March 2, for computer fraud and abuse, access device fraud, and wire fraud.
The Charges: According to Acting U.S. Attorney Erskine, the charges, and other information presented in court, between June 23, 2017 and April 28, 2018, Purbeck allegedly purchased, on a criminal marketplace, the username and passwords to computer servers belonging to multiple Georgia victims. He then allegedly used these credentials to access the victims’ computers and stole sensitive personally identifiable information, including:
- Medical records and other documents that contained names, addresses, birth dates, and social security numbers of over 43,000 people from a Griffin, Georgia, medical clinic;
- Police reports and other documents containing personal information of over 14,000 people from the City of Newnan; and
- Personal information of more 7,000 people from a Locust Grove, Georgia, medical practice.
The Quotes: “This alleged cyber-criminal and extortionist targeted the City of Newnan as well as medical clinics in our District, stealing over 60,000 records containing personal information of our citizens,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “He then allegedly attempted to extort a Florida orthodontist, threatening to sell the social security number of his minor child unless the orthodontist submitted to a payment demand. Now, this defendant must answer for his alleged crimes in the Northern District of Georgia.”
“The charges against Purbeck highlight the need to remain vigilant in our cybersecurity efforts,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The theft of intellectual property to be used to extort citizens is a very serious crime and one the FBI will diligently pursue, no matter if you are hiding behind a computer screen.”
The Agencies Involved: This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Atlanta Field Office, with valuable assistance provided by the FBI Boise Resident Agency.