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Indianapolis man latest to plead in Darkode cybercrime case

August 20, 2015

An Indianapolis man is the latest to plead guilty to participating in a cybercriminal marketplace where hackers schemed to cripple or steal information from computers and cellphones.

Thirty-one-year-old Phillip Fleitz pleaded guilty Wednesday before a federal judge in Pittsburgh. He faces up to three years in prison when he's sentenced Nov. 24 for conspiring to violate a law that makes it illegal to send out unsolicited messages known as spam.

Authorities say Fleitz was part of a three-person team who used software to bombard people's cellphones with spam text messages and break into routers in developing nations. Prosecutors say the team made $2,000 to $3,000 weekly for their work.

Fleitz was one of 12 people charged in the United States, and the third to plead guilty, who used Darkcode.com to market their hacking activity.

Darkode was described by federal prosecutors as an online, invitation-only forum for hackers and cyber-criminals to buy and sell products for infecting electronic devices. Members would invite prospective ones to share their skills with the group, as part of a vetting process for joining, the government said.

Those charged include individuals from Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Florida, Pakistan, Slovenia, Sweden and Spain.

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