The land of corn, cows, and… computer crimes? Yes, it seems that even in this idyllic Midwestern state, technology can get people in trouble. Just ask Jonathan Manzi, the former CEO of Ink Labs, a tech company that used to call Lincoln home, until its CEO decided to hack a former employee’s email and a competitor’s customer list. Because, you know, that’s how you keep your company alive, by committing cyber crimes.
Manzi’s lawyer tried to defend his actions by comparing them to someone who burglarizes a home to get back his wife’s stolen wedding ring. Right, because hacking a former employee’s Google email account and Dropbox account, then impersonating him to gain control over his phone and access his new employer’s Dropbox account, and finally sending disparaging, anonymous emails to its customers and potential customers, is totally the same as getting back a piece of jewelry.
And let’s get one more thing straight: breaking into someone’s home is illegal and should never be used to diminish hacking, which is also illegal.
Manzi himself, now the CEO of Beyond Protocol, another tech company, offered a tearful apology in court and said he regretted the sense of violation he caused. He also said he viewed the people he worked with as family, which explains why he hacked their emails and jeopardized their careers. He even tried to justify his actions by saying he was trying to save Ink Labs from failing, as if cyber crime was a viable business strategy.
Let’s hope Manzi learned his lesson, and that Lincoln can go back to being known for its corn and cows, not its cyber criminals.
On July 1, 2017, Manzi, then CEO for Ink Labs Inc., accessed a former employee’s Google email account and a Dropbox account for Wepa Inc., a competitor for whom the employee had gone to work, and obtained information from a protected computer.
Winehart said Manzi believed someone associated with Wepa had taken confidential and proprietary information from Ink Labs.
According to the government, Manzi contacted AT&T and impersonated the former employee to gain control over his phone and access his email and Wepa’s Dropbox account, including customer information. Then, he sent disparaging, anonymous emails to his competitor’s customers and potential customers.
U.S. Attorney Steven Russell said: “Mr. Manzi made a decision to take over another person’s email account for the purpose of destroying a company,” Russell said. “He got mad and he decided to destroy these people.”
Manzi did a lot of damage to Wepa and to his former employee in the process, he said. And there was no evidence anyone had taken anything from his company.
He sentenced Manzi to a year and a half in federal prison, starting June 28, and ordered him to pay $655,000 in restitution to Wepa and the former employee, $425,000 of which already has been paid.https://journalstar.com/business/local/ex-lincoln-tech-company-ceo-sentenced-to-prison-for-hacking/article_dfff6348-dfb9-11ed-9927-0ff9db848ce0.html
Full eCrimeBytes episode:
- https://www.ceotodaymagazine.com/2022/01/jonathan-manzi-the-inspirational-success-story-of-a-precocious-ceo/ (Photo)
- https://homebusinessmag.com/businesses/success-stories-businesses/jonathan-manzi-journey-intensively-driven-entrepreneur/ (Photo)
- https://wikiake.com/jonathan-manzi/ (Photo)
- https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathan-manzi-453b298/ (Photo)