The narrative of Marquis Hooper: Transitioning from a classified military operation to the obscure realm of the darknet.
Former U.S. Navy sailor Marquis Hooper was convicted by the court to a term of five years and five months of incarceration. This legal action was taken in response to his engagement in unauthorised access and subsequent commercialisation of personal information belonging to American individuals on the darknet. The defendant's spouse, Natasha Rene Chock, has also been implicated in a criminal offence and is currently awaiting the determination of her sentencing.
Based on court records, it is evident that in August 2018, Marquis Hooper initiated the process of establishing an online account with a reputable organisation responsible for overseeing a vast database housing the personal data of numerous individuals. This organisation exclusively grants access to said data to bona fide commercial and governmental entities that possess a legitimate requirement for accessing such information. The provided information has been redacted to protect personally identifiable information (PII). PII, short for "personally identifiable information," refers to personal information that may be used to identify a specific individual.
Hooper employed several strategies, contending that the Seventh Fleet, in which he was actively engaged until October 2018, necessitated the acquisition of a database in order to authenticate the biographical information of its personnel. Subsequently, the individual transferred account access to his spouse, resulting in their joint engagement in an illicit endeavour to get the confidential information of around 9,000 individuals. This data was subsequently traded on the darknet in exchange for bitcoins, with an estimated value of approximately $160,000.
Based on the findings of the enquiry, it has been seen that in several instances, individuals who have purchased stolen data have employed the data to engage in criminal activities. As an instance, it was seen that a particular purchaser fabricated a counterfeit driver's licence with the intention of making a withdrawal from the account belonging to the individual who fell victim to this fraudulent act.
Hooper's account was subjected to a suspension in December 2018 due to allegations of fraudulent activities. Nevertheless, the individual made an attempt to get fresh access by means of an accomplice, proposing a monthly payment of $2,500 to the latter in exchange for the "lease" of a novel account. However, the implementation of more rigors verification protocols hindered his ability to complete the assigned assignment.
Hooper and his spouse were formally charged in February 2021, and subsequently, in March 2023, Hooper entered a plea of guilt for the offences of theft of personal data with aggravating circumstances and conspiracy to engage in electronic fraud.
The pronouncement of Chalk's decision is scheduled for 20 November 2023. The potential consequences she faces include a maximum jail sentence of 20 years and a monetary penalty of $250,000.