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Lithuanian national who sold information on 10,000 people gets probation

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Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, 11:20 a.m.
 

A Lithuanian national who, at 19, sold access to computer servers containing personal information for 10,000 people has matured during the past four years and doesn't need to spend time in prison before he's deported, a Pittsburgh federal judge decided on Monday.

Tadas Petrauskas, 23, of Brick, N.J., pleaded guilty in July to a single count of identity theft.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer granted a motion by Assistant Federal Public Defender Linda Cohn to sentence Petrauskas below the federal guideline range of 10 to 16 months. Cohn said that in addition to maturing, Petrauskas worked the past two years providing computer security to an Internet company. Because of the felony conviction, he will be deported to Lithuania or to Ireland, where his father lives, she said.

Petrauskas apologized for his crime and for hurting his family. He said he's trying to make up for the offense.

“I'm trying to protect the company I work with,” he said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Hull agreed that Petrauskas seems to have reformed but argued that his deportation shouldn't be a reason for leniency, because many of the people who commit computer fraud against U.S. citizens are foreign nationals.

If the federal agents managed to bring them to the United States for prosecution, sending them back without prison time would not deter them and others from crimes, Hull said.

Petrauskas sold 39 log-in names and passwords to an undercover FBI agent, effectively giving access to all the websites and personal accounts hosted on the data-hosting company's computers, prosecutors say.

He sold the information for $2,000 on “Dark Market,” an online criminal swap meet that the FBI took over in 2006 and operated for two years to gather information on people buying and selling identity information.

Fischer sentenced Petrauskas to five years of probation and 75 hours of community service. She noted that although the sentence seems lenient, if Petrauskas illegally returns to the United States during that time, he would face a prison sentence for committing another crime while on probation.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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