An Oregon man and a partner in Australia face criminal charges for stealing log-in information for streaming services such as HBO Max and Netflix, prosecutors say.
Last week, a federal grand jury indicted Samuel Joyner, 30, with conspiracy to commit computer and access device fraud, trafficking and use of an unauthorized access device and possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices.
Joyner and Evan McMahon, 23, of Sydney, Australia, created an online service called AccountBot that ran from February 2018 to March 2019, according to prosecutors. The service offered access to popular internet streaming services at greatly reduced rates.
The duo illegally acquired usernames and passwords to the sites through computer hacking, according to prosecutors. They stole large amounts of log-in information without authorization, prosecutors note.
AccountBot customers paid between $1.79 and $24.99 to view the streaming services using cryptocurrency.
McMahon was responsible for writing the computer code and managing the customer’s payments. Joyner acquired the stolen log-ins and ran AccountBot’s customer service, according to prosecutors.
By 2019, AccountBot had 52,000 registered customers and more than 200,000 stolen log-ins, prosecutors claim.
Joyner was arrested last week and faces up to 25 years in prison. McMahon was already arrested and prosecuted in Australia. He was sentenced to two years and two months of so-called ‘intensive corrections.”
“Cyber crime shows how small of a world we live in these days. The subjects and the victims can live next door or half a world away. In this instance, FBI agents in Omaha, Nebraska, launched an investigation that would stretch all the way to Australia and back to Oregon. Without their hard work, we wouldn't have this successful arrest today,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “As for consumers — this is a good reminder to check your accounts and change passwords to unique and complex passphrases.”