An auxiliary officer in the New York Police Department was arrested Tuesday for allegedly hacking into an NYPD computer and law enforcement databases to retrieve personal information about victims of traffic accidents. He would then pretended to be an attorney offering services to clients, according to the criminal complaint against him.
Auxiliary Deputy Inspector Yehuda Katz, 45, of Brooklyn’s 70th Precinct, was taken into custody Tuesday morning, WABC-TV reported. Katz allegedly put electronic devices in the station house in the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn so that he could access computers and information to which he did not legally have access, including an FBI database. Of the devices he is accused of using, one was a hidden camera and another granted remote access to a computer in the office.
"The defendant allegedly used his position as an auxiliary officer to hack into restricted computers and networks in order to obtain the personal information of thousands of citizens in a scheme to enrich himself through fraud," Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said.
The criminal complaint also alleges that Katz logged in to the computer with usernames and passwords of NYPD officers before accessing personal information of victims of traffic accidents in the New York City area. He then allegedly contacted some of those victims, claiming to be an attorney who could help them collect legal claims, for a fee of 14 percent. He reportedly ran 6,400 queries on these victims between May and August 2014 and sent them letters that made statements including, “I can advise you with 100 percent confidence that I can resolve this claim in your favor.”
“As alleged, Katz illegally accessed sensitive law enforcement computer systems for his own personal gain,” Diego Rodriguez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said, CBS reported. His first court appearance was Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn. Katz could face 10 years in prison if convicted.