Edwin Vargas Allegedly Paid Hacking Service $4k For Passwords, Usernames

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A veteran New York City Police Department detective is accused of hacking into the email accounts of his colleagues, including his ex-girlfriend who is also a police officer.

Edwin Vargas, 42, was arrested outside his home in Bronxville on Tuesday morning after FBI agents followed his computer trail, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

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Between March 2011 and October 2012, Vargas paid an email hacking service more than $4,000 to get the passwords and usernames of 43 accounts, according to court papers.

EXTRA: Read The Full Complaint (pdf)

Many of the email addresses belonged colleagues at the 44th Precinct where he used to work, Papa reported.

Of the 30 people targeted, 19 were current NYPD officers — including his ex-girlfriend — one was a retired NYPD officer, and one is on the NYPD’s administrative staff, prosecutors said.

Vargas had accessed the email of one of the officers and the cell phone of another when he was arrested, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.

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He is also accused of inappropriately accessing the National Crime Information Center, a database run by the FBI, to get information about at least two NYPD officers.

“When law enforcement officers break the laws they are sworn to uphold, they do a disservice to their fellow officers, to the Department, and to the public they serve, and it will not be tolerated,” stated U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

“Of all places, the police department is not a workplace where one should have to be concerned about an unscrupulous fellow employee,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said. “Unlike the e-mail accounts, the defendant didn’t need to pay anyone to gain access to the NCIC database. But access is not authorization, and he had no authorization.”

Vargas is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking and one count of computer hacking. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison.

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