Cryptocurrency – U.S. Navy officials charged with selling private info of 9,000+ people
FRESNO — Two married, now-former members of the U.S. Navy have been arrested and charged with conspiring to use their positions to access private information for thousands of people, which they allegedly sold to third parties on the Dark Web, according to court records.
When the ill-gotten gains began to dry up, the couple allegedly tried a second, more daring scheme, going as far as to forge a letter from the commander of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, according to the complaint.
Marquis Hooper, and his wife, Natasha Chalk, were charged Thursday with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, both federal offenses. Hooper, a serviceman from 2008-18, worked as an informations security manager on the Navy’s Seventh Fleet in Japan, according to the criminal complaint.
The complaint alleges that in August 2018, Hooper used his position to access the database for a business, which is referred to only as Company #1. Using the database, he and Chalk — a reservist assigned to Naval Air Station Lemoore — allegedly ran thousands of database searches for peoples’ private information, ignoring warnings that the database was “for government purposes only.” They came up with records for more than 9,000 people, the complaint says.
“Hooper and Chalk received digital currency worth at least $160,000 from third parties in exchange for reports and other information from the database on thousands of individuals, the complaint alleges, later adding that they also used the information to attempt to access victims’ bank accounts.
After Company #1 stopped making the database available to them, the couple allegedly forged a letter purporting to be from the Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. George Washington in order to regain database access.
The charging records contain a forfeiture allegation through which the government will attempt to seize any property “derived from proceeds traceable” to the alleged fraud spree.