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Friday, December 04, 2015

Defendant Pleads Guilty in Tallahassee Cyberstalking Case



Michael Daniel Rubens, 31, formerly of Tallahassee, Florida, pleaded guilty yesterday to cyberstalking, unauthorized access to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft.  The guilty plea was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Canova of the Northern District of Florida.

During his guilty plea, Rubens admitted that between January 2012 and January 2015, he publicly humiliated dozens of young women by hacking into their online accounts, including e-mail and social media; stealing photographs and other personal information; using the photographs to create pornography; and posting the pornographic images on social media websites and on a revenge pornography website that was recently shut down by the FBI.  Rubens engaged in most of the conduct from his residence in Tallahassee.  He used software to conceal his Internet Protocol (IP) address.

Rubens’ victims included an employee of a local restaurant he frequented, an out-of-town colleague, an acquaintance in his office building, clients of the defendant’s employer, a former girlfriend and her colleagues, high school classmates and the victims’ relatives or friends.  For one particular woman, Rubens’ laptop contained 470 files with more than 5,000 references to the victim.  Rubens’ computer searches focused on finding the victims’ personal identifying information, such as past addresses, family information and other personal data that could be used to answer security questions.  As a result of Rubens’ conduct, the victims became afraid to conduct any online activities and often deleted their social media presence entirely.  In some instances, the conduct also affected the victims’ personal relationships.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 25, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee.  For each of the 12 counts of cyberstalking and unauthorized access to a protected computer, Rubens faces a maximum of five years in prison.  For the aggravated identity theft charge, he faces a mandatory two years in prison to be served consecutively to any other sentence.

This case resulted from investigations by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Florida State University Police Department and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason S. Beaton of the Northern District of Florida.

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