From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
GARDENDALE –Federal prosecutors today charged a Birmingham man with selling private customer information, including customer cell phone records, that he obtained from his work computer at AT&T. Prosecutors last week charged a former Verizon employee in a related case, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger C. Stanton.
“We cannot allow people with access to sensitive personal information abuse that access for personal financial gain,” Vance said. “Anyone with a cell phone could be put at risk of harm if their private call information or tracking data is illegally accessed and used.”
“Computer crimes continue to be a high priority for the FBI,” Stanton said. “Those who engage in the kind of illegal activity Conley and Traeger participated in can expect to be prosecuted.”
In a one-count information filed today in U.S. District Court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Eric Conley, 33, with computer intrusion. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also filed a plea agreement with Conley. According to the agreement, Conley will plead guilty to the charge.
Conley was employed as a retail sales consultant at AT&T in Gardendale in 2011 when a private investigator offered to pay Conley for particular AT&T customer records, according to the plea agreement. Conley accepted the offer and, between 2011 and 2013, sold hundreds of customer records to the private investigator, all of which Conley had obtained from AT&T computer systems without the customers’ permission. In exchange, Conley received thousands of dollars in cash and check payments.
Last week the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged a former Verizon Wireless employee, Daniel Eugene Traeger, 51, of Bessemer, with computer intrusion for gathering customer records to sell to the same private investigator. Traeger worked for Verizon in Birmingham as a network technician. Traeger is charged in a one-count information and, like Conley, has agreed to plead guilty. Traeger has admitted that he sold the private investigator hundreds of Verizon customer call records and location data records between 2009 and 2014.
The maximum punishment for the computer intrusion offense is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erica W. Barnes and John B. Ward are prosecuting.