Two private investigators and three other men have been charged in federal court in San Jose with conspiring to hack the emails and computers of four victims to obtain information to aid the investigators’ clients in civil lawsuits.
A federal grand jury issued a sealed indictment against the five men on Jan. 7.
The indictment was unsealed by a U.S. magistrate after three of the defendants made an initial appearance in federal court in San Jose on Tuesday.
The two investigators named in the indictment are Nathan Moser, 41, of Menlo Park, the owner of Moser and Associates; and Peter Siragusa, 59, of Novato, owner of Siragusa Investigations.
The indictment said that while Moser and Siragusa owned separate businesses, they often assisted in each other’s investigations.
The other defendants are Trent Williams, 24, of Martinez, and Sumit Gupta, 26, of Japalapur, India, who were allegedly hired to do the hacking, and Carlo Pacileo, 44, of El Segundo, an alleged client of the investigators.
All five men are accused of one count of conspiracy; six counts of gaining access to a protected computer and obtaining information; and two counts of electronic communications.
Moser and Siragusa were granted release on $100,000 bail by U.S. Magistrate Paul Grewal and Williams is being held in custody while awaiting a detention hearing on Friday.
The three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Pacileo made an initial appearance in Los Angeles and was released on $25,000 bond.
The four men are due to appear in the court of U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, the trial judge assigned to the case, for a status conference on Feb. 23.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said an arrest warrant has been issued for Gupta, who is believed to be in India, and that FBI agents in San Jose are working with agents in the FBI office in New Delhi to secure Gupta’s prosecution.
Pacileo was the security director of ViSalus, a network marketing company based in Los Angeles, according to the indictment.
The indictment alleges the five defendants hacked or aided in the hacking of emails or computers of four unnamed victims in connection with two separate investigations for which Moser and Siragusa had been hired.
One investigation was for a civil lawsuit ViSalus filed against former employees who had gone to work for a rival company, according to the indictment.
The second investigation was commissioned by a widow, identified only as K.P., who wanted information related to a lawsuit filed by a woman seeking child support for a child allegedly fathered by the widow’s late husband, the indictment said.