NYPD Detective Faces Hacking Charges

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Edwin Vargas, 42, a detective with the New York City Police Department (NYPD), was arrested yesterday and charged with hacking into at least 43 personal e-mail accounts.

According to the complaint, between March 2011 and October 2012, Vargas paid more than $4,000 to an e-mail hacking service for the login credentials for 43 personal e-mail accounts and one cell phone account belonging to at least 30 people, including 19 current NYPD officers, one retired NYPD officer, and one member of the NYPD's administrative staff.

The FBI reports that the Contacts section of Vargas' Gmail account included a list of at least 20 e-mail addresses, along with what appear to be passwords, phone numbers, home addresses, and vehicle information corresponding to those e-mail addresses.

Vargas is also accused of accessing the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database to look up information on at least two NYPD officers without authorization.

Vargas has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking and one count of computing hacking, each of which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.

"As alleged, Detective Edwin Vargas paid thousands of dollars for the ability to illegally invade the privacy of his fellow officers and others," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "He is also alleged to have illegally obtained information about two officers from a federal database to which he had access based on his status as an NYPD detective. 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."