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FBI Defends Disruptive Raids on Texas Data Centers

FBI Defends Disruptive Raids on Texas Data Centers
FBI Defends Disruptive Raids on Texas Data Centers

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By Kim Zetter 
Threat Level
April 07, 2009

The FBI on Tuesday defended its raids on at least two data centers in 
Texas, in which agents carted out equipment and disrupted service to 
hundreds of businesses.

The raids were part of an investigation prompted by complaints from AT&T 
and Verizon about unpaid bills allegedly owed by some data center 
customers, according to court records. One data center owner charges 
that the telecoms are using the FBI to collect debts that should be 
resolved in civil court. But on Tuesday, an FBI spokesman disputed that 

"We wouldn=E2=80=99t be looking at it if it was a civil matter," says Mark 
White, spokesman for the FBI's Dallas office. "And a judge wouldn=E2=80=99t sign 
a federal search warrant if there wasn=E2=80=99t probable cause to believe that 
a fraud took place and that the equipment we asked to seize had evidence 
pertaining to the criminal violation."

In interviews with Threat Level, companies affected by the raids say 
they've lost millions of dollars in equipment and business after the FBI 
hauled off gear belonging to phone and VoIP providers, a credit card 
processing company and other businesses that housed equipment at the 
centers. Nobody has been charged in the FBI's investigation.

According to the owner of one co-location facility, Crydon Technology, 
which was raided on March 12, FBI agents seized about 220 servers 
belonging to him and his customers, as well as routers, switches, 
cabinets for storing servers and even power strips. Authorities also 
raided his home, where they seized eight iPods, some belonging to his 
three children, five XBoxes, a PlayStation3 system and a Wii gaming 
console, among other equipment. Agents also seized about $200,000 from 
the owner's business accounts, $1,000 from his teenage daughter's 
account and more than $10,000 in a personal bank account belonging to 
the elderly mother of his former comptroller.


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