Hungarian Gets 30-Month Sentence in Marriott Extortion Case

Posted February 3rd, 2012 at 7:20 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Department of Justice says a Hungarian citizen has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for hacking into computers of Marriott International Corporation to extort employment from the company.

A statement released Friday says 26-year-old Attila Nemeth was sentenced in the state of Maryland for transmitting a malicious code to Marriott's computers and threatening to reveal confidential information obtained from the computers if Marriott did not offer him a job.

Nemeth pleaded guilty in November of last year.

Officials say that according to court documents, Nemeth emailed Marriott personnel in November 2010 to tell them he had been accessing the company's computers for months and obtained proprietary information. Authorities say he threatened to disclose that information if Marriott did not give him a job maintaining its computers.

A U.S. Secret Service agent pretending to be a Marriott human resources employee began corresponding with Nemeth by email. Authorities say that in one instance, Nemeth emailed a copy of his Hungarian passport to the undercover agent as identification and offered to travel to the United States for an interview. When Nemeth arrived at Washington's Dulles Airport in January 2011, he was questioned in the undercover operation and arrested.

The Justice Department says the loss to Marriott as a result of the intentional damage caused by Nemeth was about $1 million in salaries, consultant expenses and other costs associated with his intrusion.

Nemeth has also been ordered to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term.