Cyberstalker sentenced to 10 years in prison

Michael Daniel Rubens, 31, formerly of Tallahassee, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison, a $15,000 fine, and $1,550 in restitution for cyberstalking, unauthorized access to a protected computer, and aggravated identity theft. The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

During his guilty plea on December 3, 2015, Rubens admitted that, between January 2012 and January 2015, he publicly humiliated dozens of young women by hacking into their online accounts, including e-mail and social media, stealing photographs and other personal information, using the photographs to create pornography, and posting the pornographic images on social media websites and on a revenge pornography website that was recently shut down by the FBI.

Rubens engaged in most of the conduct from his residence in Tallahassee. He used software to conceal his IP address.

Rubens’ victims included an employee of a local restaurant he frequented, an out-of-town colleague, an acquaintance in his office building, clients of the defendant’s employer, a former girlfriend and her colleagues, high school classmates, and the victims’ relatives or friends.

For one particular woman, Rubens’ laptop contained 470 files with more than 5,000 references to the victim. Rubens’ computer searches focused on finding the victims’ personal identifying information, such as past addresses, family information, and other personal data that could be used to answer security questions. As a result of his conduct, the victims became afraid to conduct any online activities and often deleted their social media presence entirely. In some instances, the conduct also damaged the victims’ personal relationships.

Urging leniency, Ruben’s counsel argued that, unlike bank robbery or drug dealing, cyberstalking was not something people thought of as a serious crime. United States District Judge Robert L. Hinkle responded, “Perhaps it’s time they learned.”

Acting United States Attorney Canova stated, “This sentence sends an unequivocal message to anyone tempted to use a computer as a weapon to victimize and steal the identities of others: Expect to be prosecuted. And expect to go to prison.”

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