Kyle Jeffrey Tschiegg, 39, of Sarasota, Florida was sentenced in United States District Court here today to 90 months’ imprisonment for e-mailing threats, including threats to cause a candidate to drop out of a race for statewide office in Florida; hacking into e-mail accounts of individuals and companies; and using stolen identity information to commit computer crimes.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Keith L. Bennett, Special Agent in Charge, of the Cincinnati Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced the sentence handed down today by Senior United States District Court Judge James L. Graham.
Tscheigg pleaded guilty on September 4, 2009 to one count each of interstate transmission of threatening communications, interstate extortion, computer intrusion, and identity theft. On August 4, 2008, Tscheigg sent an e-mail to a Columbus company he picked at random and two company employees threatening to “start shooting the whole place up, blowing your heads off…”
In part, Tscheigg’s e-mail said, “I want to come to “RF” company in columbus and just start shooting the whole place up, blowing your heads off, and then I’m gonna go to “Pro” in sarasota and and kill all of them too, see ya soon!! Im looking forward to painting walls with brain matter:)”
A group of approximately 40 individuals and businesses received repeated e-mail and telephone threats or harassment by Tschiegg. At one point, approximately 3500 e-mail accounts were being copied on the threatening e-mails.
Tschiegg used several methods to conceal his identity online, including using his laptop computer to access the Internet through neighbors’ unsecured wireless networks in Sarasota.
Tschiegg also hacked into a Florida state legislator’s e-mail account in October 2008. He used personal information he found about the legislator on the Internet to reset the legislator’s password. Less than two weeks before the November 4, 2008 election, Tscheigg sent two e-mails threatening to injure the legislator, her family, and supporters unless she withdrew from the race.
Tscheigg has been in custody since FBI agents arrested him at his parents’ Sarasota home on February 12, 2009.
Stewart commended the investigation by FBI agents and investigators in the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah A. Solove and Department of Justice Attorney Joseph Springsteen of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, who prosecuted the case. Stewart also acknowledged the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel Moore in the Middle District of Florida.
Although she is not named in the FBI press releases, other sources identify the Florida legislator as Sen. Nancy Detert.