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Beaverton man indicted in streaming service fraud scheme

Charged for his role in a scheme to steal and resell customer account credentials for popular internet streaming services including Netflix, HBO Max, and Spotify Premium.

Posted: May 12, 2021 4:27 PM
Updated: May 12, 2021 4:28 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Samuel Joyner, a Beaverton man, with conspiracy to commit computer and access device fraud, trafficking and use of unauthorized access devices, and possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices.

“This investigation spanned across the Pacific to our shores in Australia, showing that while crimes may be borderless, our law enforcement response is united across countries. Following a referral of information from our FBI law enforcement partners, the Australian Federal Police arrested, charged, and secured a conviction against a Sydney man, and we also seized more than a million dollars worth of cryptocurrency assets which were the proceeds of his crime,”

Australian Federal Police cybercrime operations case officer Joanna Kondos said, “Cybercrime is not a victim-less crime – this case uncovered stolen account details from millions of people around the world, and we work to investigate these crimes on behalf of those who have had their personal details scammed for someone else’s profit.”

According to the indictment, between February 2018 and March 2019, Joyner and an accomplice, Evan McMahon, 23, of Sydney, Australia, conspired with one another to create and operate an online service called AccountBot. AccountBot offered a paid subscription service where customers could obtain account credentials to access popular internet streaming services at a greatly reduced rate.

Joyner and McMahon illegally acquired usernames and passwords to the various streaming services through credential stuffing attacks, a computer hacking technique where individuals obtain large sets of account credentials, often made available as a result of large data breaches, and, using an automated tool, repeatedly enter credentials into a website or internet-based service to verify their authenticity.

Verified credentials obtained via credential stuffing can then be used to access online user accounts without authorization.
Joyner was arrested without incident today by the FBI and made his initial appearance in federal court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. He was arraigned, pleaded not guilty, and released pending a five-day jury trial scheduled to begin on July 13, 2021.

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