Fraud in the News 


Reveton to the rescue?


A British man, 21-year-old Jay Matthew Riley, of Woodbridge, William County, U.K., received a notice on his computer that the FBI was demanding that he pay a fine or else it would investigate his use of child pornography websites. He came into a police station to confess that he actually had been watching child pornography when the message appeared. 

According to the July 26 article “Man, 21, turns himself in for downloading child porn after ‘FBI warning message’ that turned out to be a virus tells him to,” by reporters at the online publication Daily Mail, “[Riley] is charged with three counts of possession of child pornography, one count of using a communication device to solicit certain offenses involving children, and one count of indecent liberties with a minor. He is being held without bond.”

The FBI warning message was actually from a ransomware program called Reveton that has been a cash cow for fraudsters, especially in Europe. When users visit infected websites, an authentic-looking message appears that states their computers have been locked until they pay a fine. (See Fraud Magazine’s July/August 2013 article, “European fraudsters say pay up or your computer and files are goners!” by Robert Holtfreter, Ph.D., CFE, CICA, and Tiffany McLeod.) 

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A jury convicted Donald Dean Brewer and his wife, Sherri Lynn Brewer, of wire fraud, major fraud, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., according to the July 23 article, “Judge rejects couple’s fraud apology.” “Authorities say the Brewers and a third person, James McKinney, 61, tainted $33.5 million in contracts by overcharging the Air Force more than $6.4 million between 2002 and 2008.” 

The judge sentenced them to lifetime probation and the unusual requirement that they publish an apology in their hometown’s newspaper in Clovis, N.M. However the Brewer's initial letter was deemed by U.S. District Judge Fred Biery as " ‘totally unacceptable,’ " according to the article. " ‘If necessary, the Court will refresh defendants’ memories as to the specific evidence of their lies and misdeeds shown by the evidence in the record,’ " Biery said in court documents.  

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