A Filipino man has been criminally charged in New Jersey with running a large and sophisticated scheme to hack into the bank and credit card accounts of well-known or celebrity customers, U.S. prosecutors said.
According to an indictment made public on Friday, Peter Locsin, 35, conspired with others from February 2012 to January 2015 to compromise accounts belonging to at least five victims at three financial institutions.
Locsin, of Talisay City, Philippines, allegedly accessed the accounts through websites, other online means and phone calls, and used them to make or try to make wire transfers, to order merchandise, to add new cardholders, or to change addresses.
The information that was compromised included names, birth dates and Social Security numbers.
None of the victims was identified in court papers. In June 2015, The Philippine Star newspaper said former FBI director Robert Mueller was among the victims, without saying where it got the information.
Locsin was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. The conspiracy count carries a maximum 30-year prison term.
It is unclear whether Locsin has a lawyer for his defense.
A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey said Locsin is in the custody of Filipino authorities on unrelated charges. The spokesman declined to identify the victims of the alleged hacking scheme.
Mueller is now a partner at the law firm WilmerHale, and his office said he would not comment.
The case is U.S. v. Locsin, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 16-cr-00229.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)