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Case of Nicodemo S. Scarfo V. USA
Computer crime can broadly be defined as criminal activity involving the information technologyinfrastructure, including illegal access (unauthorized access), illegal interception (by technical means of non-public transmissions of computer data to, from or within a computer system), data interference(unauthorized damaging, deletion, deterioration, alteration or suppression of computer data), systemsinterference (interfering with the functioning of a computer system by inputting, transmitting, damaging,deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data), misuse of devices, forgery (ID theft), andelectronic fraud.
Description of the broken applicable laws
According to court records, confidential informants told FBI agents in January 1999 that Scarfo and anassociate, Andrew Knapik, had been running a sports-betting and loan-sharking operation linked to theGambino crime family out of a one-room office of a company known as Merchant Services Inc. inBelleville, N.J.It appeared to agents that Scarfo, 35, who had several arrests and convictions on assault, conspiracy andweapons charges, was being groomed to take over the operation from Knapik, who was heading toprison. The two would drive around collecting on bets and loan payments, and when Scarfo was arrestedhe had more than $6,000 in cash on him, according to court records. Scarfo also would use the MerchantServices office for loan collection, the records said.In the Scarfo case, there were a number of laws that dealt with the crimes he had been accused of. Theprosecution had evidence showing that Scarfo had committed illegal gambling, loansharking and other racketeering offenses which are violations of 18 U.S.C 371 (conspiracy), 892-94 (extortionate credittransactions), 1955 (illegal gambling business) and 1962 (RICO). Under RICO, the prosecution must beable to show that 1) the defendant committed 2 or more racketeering acts and 2) that they used thoseacts to accomplish 3 criminal acts tied to business.
Description of the crime
Mr. Scarfo had been under surveillance and investigation for his criminal gambling, loan sharking andother racketeering offenses. Scarfo had been charged with supervising “an illegal gambling business” inviolation of state and federal law and using extortionate loan shark tactics, according to the three-countindictment filed in federal court in June 2000. Scarfo, who had been charged with masterminding a moblinked loan sharking operation in New Jersey, used his computer and a popular PGP encryption to shieldhis computer secrets from prying eyes.In January 1999, agents of the FBI raided the offices of Nicodemo S. Scarfo, a reputed Philadelphiaunderworld figure, and co-defendant Frank Paolercio, searching for evidence of illegal gamblingoperations. Armed with search warrant, the agents searched for and seized files contained on Scarfo’scomputer, including a single file called “
” was encrypted using the commercial software PGP (i.e.