Elias et al v. Florida: 14 Indicted in Florida Cyber Crime Banking Scheme

June 25, 2012 by David S. Seltzer

Many Florida cyber crime schemes are intricately structured, complex events.

Earlier this week, 24 year-old Ibrahin Elias and 13 other people were indicted for creating and executing a scheme to steal money from people’s web-based savings and checking accounts. The U.S. attorney for Florida's Southern District and the FBI’s Miami Field Office jointly announced the indictment in Miami and painted a picture of a crafty criminal conspiracy.

Per the allegations, Elias obtained personal information from bank customers, including SSNs, birthdays, etc, to log into their banks online. After accessing the system, Elias moved money from the victims’ account to the accounts of accomplices; he also ordered checks to liquidate their assets. Other defendants who’ve been indicted include Dalbert Hernandez, Victor Batista, Roger Lores, Dayan Galarraga, and Dalmis Gonzalez; they all allegedly collected the stolen funds. And some defendants even recruited others to participate in the bank fraud.

Elias was hit with the slew of counts in violation of Title 18 of the United States Code, including:

• Conspiracy to commit bank fraud
• Substantive bank fraud (16 counts)
• Aggravated identity theft (3 counts)
• Destruction of evidence (one count)

The other 13 defendants were also hit with a variety of counts, depending on the nature of their complicity and responsibility. One defendant, Galarraga, remains at large.

Lessons for Florida Cyber Crime Defendants?

Since Elias’s case is still in its early stages, we can’t comment extensively about the implications for your defense, if you or someone you care about has been charged with a Florida cyber crime. On the other hand, we can extrapolate critical principles to guide you going forward:

1. When you operate a complex Florida cyber crime syndicate, you can easily lose control.

Even if you work alone, and you are incredibly careful about managing the potential trail of evidence, you cannot understand or anticipate all the tools investigators can and will use against you. Likewise, if you bring other people into your online "business," you can’t control what those people will do, what they’ll tell investigators, what other crimes they might commit while working under your aegis, etc.

2. Cyber crime counts have a way of “stacking up.”

Consider the charges that Elias faces – 16 counts alone of substantive bank fraud. The more complicated your computer crime, the longer its duration, and the more “moving parts,” the higher the likelihood that you will face multiple counts.

3. Even if you committed an egregious, complicated, and very damaging Florida computer crime, you might be surprised at the defensive options at your disposal.

This point must be underscored. Yes, you may have violated the law, consistently, and damaged an institution or otherwise harmed people. But with strategic guidance from a Florida cyber crime defense lawyer at Seltzer Law, PA, you can approach your situation from a better, clearer, and more success oriented perspective.

Attorney Seltzer and his team are happy to talk to you about your defensive resources at any time of day or night. Call us at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE – 1-888-843-3333. Or get in touch with us online immediately for a free confidential consultation.