[ISN] Computer Hacker on the Lam Again

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Wed Dec 02 1998 - 15:36:22 PST

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    Forwarded From: Nelson Murilo <nelsonat_private>
    Tuesday December 1 4:19 AM ET
    Computer Hacker on the Lam Again
    LOS ANGELES (AP) - ``Agent Steal,'' a flamboyant computer hacker and
    government informant who claims he helped put superhacker Kevin Mitnick in
    jail, is on the run himself. 
    Justin Petersen is accused of skipping out on his probation in September.
    Federal marshals have a warrant for his arrest. 
    The Daily News of Los Angeles reported Monday that a letter appeared on
    Petersen's now-defunct Web site in which he claims to have found an
    unspecified job overseas - but is thinking about coming home. 
    ``I am still considering simply turning myself in and getting it over
    with,'' he wrote. ``Regardless, if I happen to get apprehended, it will be
    of little concern to me. Alas, rest assured I am somewhere having fun with
    a nice-looking lady, enjoying the first freedom I have felt in some
    Petersen, 38, a native of Lincoln, Neb., was known among hackers as
    ``Agent Steal.'' He had a reputation for hanging out at Sunset Strip
    clubs, wearing his hair rock-star long and making the rounds with
    attractive women. A motorcycle accident cost him his left leg below the
    He was on probation after pleading guilty in 1993 to federal crimes
    committed in California and Texas, including credit card fraud that
    involved stealing data from a credit information firm. 
    He also admitted to helping other hackers rig a radio station promotion by
    seizing control of telephone lines so they could be the winning callers.
    Under a plea agreement, he remained out of prison while helping the
    government in an ``undercover capacity,'' as one court document put it. 
    Petersen claimed the FBI paid his rent and flew him to computer
    conferences to spy on other hackers. 
    He also says he helped show that Mitnick was committing offenses while on
    probation for previous computer crimes. Mitnick, who faces trial in Los
    Angeles in January, is the only hacker to make the FBI's most-wanted list.
    He was arrested in 1995, accused of stealing 20,000 credit card numbers. 
    As for Petersen, prosecutors say at some point he hacked into the
    computers of Glendale-based Heller Financial Inc. (NYSE:HF - news) and
    paid himself $150,000, phoning in two bomb threats to make sure wire
    transfer officers were away from their desks. 
    Petersen was sentenced to 41 months in prison for those crimes and others.
    Court records show that he was accused this summer of violating his
    release agreement, which ordered him to pay $40,000 and stay away from
    computers except at work. 
    In his Web site letter, Petersen said he had a personality conflict with
    his parole officer, who wanted him to take a full-time job to repay the
    $40,000. The fugitive said ``for me that is physically impossible.''
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