Shamuses Plead Guilty to Hacking Conspiracies

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Two private investigators have pleaded guilty to conspiring to hack into the computers, emails and Skype accounts of people that opposed their clients in civil lawsuits.
     Nathan Moser, 41, and Peter “Bobby Russo” Siragusa, 59, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, accessing protected computers and obtaining information and intercepting electronic communications. Both men were indicted on federal charges earlier this year.
     The men own private-investigation firms in the Bay Area. Moser owns Moser and Associates in Menlo Park, Calif., while Siragusa heads Siragusa Investigations in nearby Novato.
     In exchange for pleading guilty, agreeing to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney and testifying against co-conspirators, Moser and Siragusa were both assigned a final offense level of 13 and will receive sentences of one to three years and fines of $3,000 to $30,000 under federal sentencing guidelines.
     Both men faced a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and $750,000 in fines for the three offenses.
     Their co-defendants – alleged hackers Trent Williams, of Martinez, Calif., and Sumit Gupta of Jabalapur, India, and one of Moser’s clients, ViSalus’ director of security Carlo Pacileo of El Segundo, Calif., still face charges related to the conspiracy.
     Moser said Pacileo hired him to investigate executives working for one of ViSalus’ competitors, Ocean Avenue LLC, by obtaining unauthorized access to their computers.
     “Pacileo paid for the hacking, either by paying the hackers directly, or by paying me and having me pay the hackers,” Moser stated in the July 20 plea agreement.
     The “conspiracy members” were paid approximately $38,950 to conduct the illegal activity, according to the plea agreements.
     In 2013, ViSalus filed three lawsuits against Ocean Avenue LLC and former employees that jumped ship to its competitor for allegedly violating non-compete clauses by soliciting Visalus’ distributors.
     Moser and Siragusa said they conspired to hire hackers, including co-defendants Williams and Gupta, to infiltrate the email accounts, Skype accounts and computers of three Ocean Avenue executives.
     One of those executives, Kauri Thompson, sued Moser, Pacileo and ViSalus in Utah’s Salt Lake County District Court this past March for allegedly stealing trade secrets and engaging in malicious cyber activity.
     Siragusa also ordered hackers to infiltrate computers belonging to an employee of Santa Clara-based design software company Silvaco to gain an advantage in his client’s lawsuit seeking child support and employment benefits, according to the plea agreement.
     Moser and Siragusa entered their guilty pleas in open court on July 20. They will be sentenced on Nov. 2.
     Siragusa is represented by Anthony Brass of San Francisco. Moser is represented by Katharine McClure of San Francisco.
     Neither the U.S. Attorney’s Office nor the men’s attorneys returned requests for comment.

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