The New Zealand Herald
May 24, 2008
An Auckland computer hacker, who scammed hundreds of thousands of
dollars and attracted the FBI to New Zealand, has been jailed for three
Thomasz Grygoruk, 22, was jailed on five charges of blackmail, document
and computer fraud when he appeared in the High Court at Auckland
Grygoruk spent five years and used an internet scam getting personal
details from people to make A" cards. He then used the cards to withdraw
up to $300,000.
The court heard he also got into the email account of an American
teacher in Pennsylvania and tried to blackmail him, threatening to
disclose details of a relationship with a student unless he was paid
US$10,000 ($13,000). The relationship was not inappropriate.
Grygoruk had threatened to tell the teacher's local police and newspaper
he was a paedophile who was romantically involved with the student.
The teacher called the FBI and an FBI agent pretended to be the
teacher's accountant and later traced Grygoruk's New Zealand address.
The FBI also sent an agent to New Zealand last year to help with the
Over five years Grygoruk used trojan computer viruses that allowed him
to access personal information on the internet from thousands of
He set up bank websites and sent thousands of unsolicited emails
inviting individuals to provide personal details including credit card
numbers and PIN numbers under the illusion they were being provided to
Using that information he created magnetic cards and got between
$200,000 and $300,000 in cash from A" machines.
In the High Court at Auckland, Crown prosecutor Simon Mount said the
offending was sophisticated and involved a large degree of planning.
However, he also said it was a mitigating factor that Grygoruk
voluntarily went to the police to confess some of the computer scams
that could otherwise have been undetected.
Justice Lyndon Stevens said home detention was not appropriate but added
a rider that Grygoruk would greatly benefit from treatment for substance
abuse and behavioural issues once he was released from jail.
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