Prosecutors have accused a Minnesota man of hacking into other people's Facebook and other computer accounts and stealing photos of women to post on adult websites.
Prosecutors charged Timothy Peter Noirjean, 26, of Woodbury, with 13 counts of identity theft, alleging that from February 2010 through March 2010 he contacted women online and duped them into providing him with personal information that allowed him to hack their Facebook and other accounts. After hacking a Facebook account, prosecutors say Noirjean would pose as the owner to make contact with that person's friends and try to gain access to more computer accounts.
"My advice would be to stay very, very aware of anyone asking you for personal information, either on a telephone or via a computer, or any other electronic means," Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said Wednesday. "You need to hold on to that information with the utmost care."
Prosecutors allege Noirjean was able to get answers to security questions that allowed him to access his victims' Facebook and email accounts. He allegedly stole photographs of eight women _ ranging in age from 17 to 24 _ and posted those pictures on adult websites. In one case, an 18-year-old women said the pictures were stolen from her email account.
Authorities also identified nine other victims whose accounts were accessed so Noirjean could get to other accounts.
It was not immediately clear whether Noirjean had an attorney. A phone message left at his home was not returned. Authorities said when they questioned him at his home he admitted he had been hacking into accounts, and stealing and posting photos, but denied knowing that he did anything wrong.
The criminal complaint said his computer contained 92 separate folders with photos of women, and 235 email addresses with what appeared to be the answers to security questions for those accounts.
His first court appearance is set for May 26.
Orput said he doesn't know Noirjean's motive, but said it wasn't money. He said all of the pictures posted online were "compromising" in nature.
According to the criminal complaint, which identifies the victims only by their initials and birthdates, the 18-year-old woman who originally went to police had been chatting with someone she thought was a friend on Feb. 5, 2010. She gave up some personal information, and the next day found her password had been reset and pictures had been stolen from her email account and posted online, the complaint says.
She later realized that person was using her Facebook account to try to do the same thing to one of her friends. One of those women told police she "friended" a man named "Steve Mills" who described a picture that had been taken from her computer and said it was posted on his website, according to the complaint.
"'Steve Mills' stated that he would take down the posted photo, if (the victim) sent him a fully nude photograph of herself, which she declined to do," the complaint said.
Orput said a detective sent an email to an address connected to the website, asking that the photos be taken down, but received no response.
"We can hold the perpetrator accountable, but we are unable to remove their photos from the worldwide web, so they are out there, along with identifying information," Orput said.