On October 27, a complaint was unsealed charging Dwayne C. Hans, a United States citizen, with wire fraud, computer fraud, and money laundering.
According to the complaint, between April 2016 and July 2016, the defendant masterminded a series of frauds against a U.S. financial institution in which he masqueraded as an authorized representative of that institution. Using that ruse, he transferred funds from the financial institution’s corporate bank accounts for his own use.
The defendant also accessed a website run by the U.S. General Services Administration without authorization and then redirected money intended for the financial institution to his own bank account.
The defendant’s initial appearance was held before United States District Judge Thomas O. Rice at the U.S. Courthouse in Spokane, Washington. The court scheduled a detention hearing to determine whether the defendant will be held in custody pending his removal to the Eastern District of New York for further proceedings.
The charges were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI).
As alleged in the complaint, the defendant stole $134,000 from the financial institution and attempted to steal approximately $1.5 million more.
Posing as someone authorized to conduct financial transactions for the financial institution, the defendant misappropriated money from corporate bank accounts to buy shares of stock in publicly traded companies, invest in a real estate property in Brooklyn, New York, and benefit his family members.
He also conducted an unauthorized intrusion into the website SAM.gov, which stores information about companies that provide services to the federal government.
During this unauthorized website intrusion, the defendant changed information in entries pertaining to the financial institution, including by replacing the bank account information for the financial institution with the defendant’s personal bank account information.
As a result, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation sent more than $1.5 million to the defendant instead of the financial institution. These fraudulent wire transfers were reversed once they were detected.
The defendant was arrested in Richland, Washington, on October 26, 2016, pursuant to a criminal complaint issued in the Eastern District of New York.
“Cybercriminals scour the internet for information they can use to steal with impunity,” stated United States Attorney Capers. “They threaten to undermine our confidence in the internet and in the cyber world, on which we rely each and every day. The arrest announced today sends all would be cyber criminals a message – we will find you, and we will bring you to justice.”
“Criminals who exploit the internet to commit crimes think they can hide behind the virtual veil of a computer screen. But just as today’s charges remind us that everyone is at risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime, so too should the public be reminded that the FBI will continue to be a major force in confronting those who think they can evade the law,” stated FBI Assistant Director in Charge Sweeney.
The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security & Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorney David K. Kessler is in charge of the prosecution.
DWAYNE C. HANS