By Sophia Pearson and Andrew Zajac
June 12, 2014
A Romanian hacker known as Guccifer was indicted by a federal grand jury in the U.S. for breaking into the e-mail of a family member of two presidents and, according to a person familiar with the matter, was the one who revealed that former President George W. Bush was a painter.
Marcel Lazar Lehel was charged with wire fraud, unauthorized access, aggravated identity theft and cyberstalking for allegedly hacking into the e-mail and social media accounts of several high-profile victims, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney in Richmond, Virginia. The paintings by Bush circulated widely on the Internet after the hack included self-portraits of the former president in the shower and bath.
The U.S. indictment doesn’t name Guccifer’s victims. Victim 1 is identified only as a family member of two former U.S. presidents and the owner of an AOL e-mail account. Lazar allegedly accessed that account without authorization in December 2012 and January 2013, obtaining medical information, photographs and a contact list with home addresses and telephone numbers.
The hacked material included information about Bush’s painting hobby, according to the person familiar with the investigation who asked not to be identified because details of the inquiry haven’t been made public.
Lehel was sentenced to four years in prison last week in Romania for having hacked the accounts of various high-profile people including the country’s head of the secret service, the Guardian reported on June 10.
Guccifer allegedly used the e-mail account of a sanitation engineer to distribute information from Victim 1’s e-mail, according to the indictment. Multiple media organizations published portions of the confidential information in February 2013.
The case is U.S. v. Marcel Lehel Lazar, 14-cr-00213, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond).
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