Nima Golestaneh, 30, an Iranian national, pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and unauthorized access to computers related to his involvement in the October 2012 hacking of a Vermont-based engineering consulting and software company.
The plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Eric S. Miller of the District of Vermont and Special Agent in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the FBI’s Albany Division.
According to the plea agreement, Golestaneh conspired with others to hack the network and computers at Arrow Tech Associates Inc. (Arrow Tech) in order to steal valuable company software and business information. Golestaneh’s role in the conspiracy was to acquire servers in other countries for his co-conspirators to use remotely in order to launch computer intrusions into victim companies, including Arrow Tech, thereby masking their true location and identity.
As part of the conspiracy, in October 2012, a co-conspirator used servers in third-party countries, which were provided by Golestaneh, during a successful unauthorized cyber intrusion into Arrow Tech’s computer network. As part of this intrusion, the co-conspirator stole the company’s sophisticated software product and other proprietary information.
In November 2013, Golestaneh was arrested in Turkey in connection with the indictment. He was extradited to the United States on Feb. 12, 2015 pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
“This case proves the power of close cooperation among victims, law enforcement and the international community,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “With continued partnerships like these, cyber crimes will not go unanswered. At the National Security Division, we will continue to follow the facts and evidence wherever they lead to ensure there are no safe havens for hackers.”
“This case illustrates that no part of the United States is immune from cyber intrusions,” said U.S. Attorney Miller. “Further, as the department has shown time and again, cyber criminals are not immune from the law because they hack from faraway countries that they perceive as offering a safe haven. Working with our colleagues at FBI and other law enforcement agencies, we can and will identify them and we will make every effort to arrest and prosecute them.”
“Those who have committed or are committing similar computer intrusions are on notice,” said Special Agent in Charge Vale. “We can identify them and we will pursue their arrest no matter where they reside or how long it takes.”
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Albany Division’s Cyber Squad. The case is being prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia Cowles of the District of Vermont and Deputy Chief Sean M. Newell of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also provided significant assistance in this matter.