California man hacked email of New Jersey Law Firm, stole money from NJ resident
A California man, who duped an unknowing New Jersey resident into sending him money after he hacked an email account in a New Jersey law firm, has pleaded guilty to his transgressions.
U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced on Tuesday that Eric Bullard, 59, of California, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy.
Bullard is accused of laundering money, fraudulently, via SBA loans and from a law firm in New Jersey who also fell victim to his scheme, after he took over a business email exchange.
It was in June of 2020 that a Bergen County resident was emailing a New Jersey law firm discussing a real estate transaction.
All of the sudden, someone (who turned out to be identified as Bullard) compromised an email account used by the unnamed law firm, according to Attorney Sellinger.
Bullard, through hacking this email, was able to get the New Jersey resident to wire $560,000 to a business bank account he controlled.
When that wire transfer was completed, Bullard moved several hundred dollars from his account into other bank accounts, run by other people.
Bullard then, along with others involved in the scheme, Sellinger said, conspired to launder the proceeds of fraudulently obtained Covid-19 disaster relief loans, guaranteed, from the SBA.
By July of 2020, Bullard saw money from these loans go into his bank accounts.
He remains in jail for his money-laundering scheme, but when he was caught committing this crime and detained, it was on federal supervised release from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, on armed bank robbery charges.
Bullard could serve a maximum of 20-years for the money laundering conspiracy charge, and have to pay a maximum fine of $500,000, Sellinger said, or twice the value of the funds involved in the transfer, whichever is greater.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie L. Hoxie of the Cybercrime Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Brandon D. Minde Esq., Cranford, New Jersey.