Criminal Justice News

Monday, August 27, 2012

Former Fort Collins Resident Indicted for Denial of Service Attack on Larimer County Government

DENVER—David Joseph Rezendes, aka Joseph David Rezendes, aka Joe Rezendes, age 27, currently of California, was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 21, 2012, on charges related to a denial of service attack he allegedly implemented to retaliate against the Larimer County government, United States Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone announced. He was arrested on August 23, 2012, in Sonora, Texas, following a traffic stop. Today, Rezendes will make his initial appearance in the Northern District of Texas in Abilene. The government is seeking to have him detained and brought back to Colorado by the U.S. Marshals.

According to the indictment and other court records, beginning on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, a debilitating denial of service attack was launched against Larimer County government’s computer network. A denial of service attack makes a computer resource, such as a network or processor, unavailable to its intended users. A common denial of service attack involves a computer or computer network saturating a targeted victim computer system or network, overwhelming that system or network with traffic or communications requests. The attack lasted until September 24, 2010. The denial of service attack affected Larimer County employees’ ability to access their e-mail and the Internet, including state computer systems.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI investigated the attack. As part of their investigation, law enforcement executed a court-authorized search warrant of Rezendes’ residence. Computers and computer components were seized during the search. FBI case agents and Larimer County Sheriff’s Department computer forensic experts performed an analysis examining the data on the computers, uncovering evidence that the defendant was in fact responsible for the denial of service attack.

The indictment alleges that Rezendes intentionally damaged a protected computer, possessed unauthorized access devices (credit card information), possessed an identification document-making implement, produced a false identification document, and committed aggravated identity theft.

The indictment includes an asset forfeiture allegation, which states that upon conviction of the violations stated in the indictment, including possessing unauthorized access devices, possessing an identification document-making implement, or providing false identification document, the defendant shall forfeit to the United States any and all of the defendant’s right, title, and interest in all property constituting and derived from any proceeds obtained directly and indirectly as a result of such offense or property used to commit the offense, to include computers and computer components.

“Thanks to the excellent cooperative investigative work of the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, a computer hacker who allegedly shut down Larimer County’s computer system for days has been arrested and will be brought to justice,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

“The FBI strives to collaborate with our local law enforcement partners in a variety of cyber investigations through outreach and our task force environment,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone. “Due to the FBI’s computer intrusion investigations program, the capabilities of all partners are enhanced leveraging everyone’s resources to effectively and efficiently investigate cyber criminals willing to affect our communities’ public safety.”

“The computer attack in this case had a significant impact on Larimer County both operationally and financially,” said Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith. “We appreciate the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for assisting us in protecting the taxpayers in Larimer County. Cyber crimes of this nature underscore the importance of cooperation between local and federal officials and the need for their expertise and assistance.”

If convicted, Rezendes faces not more than 10 years’ imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine for one count of intentionally damaging a protected computer and one count of possession of unauthorized access device. He also faces not more than 15 years’ imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine for one count of possession of document-making implement and authentication feature and one count of production of a false identification document. He also face not more than two years’ imprisonment consecutive to any other sentence and up to a $250,000 fine for aggravated identity theft.

This case was investigated by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Bergsieker.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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