Massachusetts Man Arrested and Charged with Cyberstalking Former Roommate
Defendant engaged in extensive online harassment and privacy intrusions
Boston – A Massachusetts man was arrested last night on charges that he conducted an extensive cyberstalking campaign against his former roommate, a 24-year-old Massachusetts woman, as well as her friends, family members, and other associates.
Ryan S. Lin, 24, of Newton, was charged with one count of cyberstalking and will appear in U.S. District Court in Boston later today for an initial appearance.
It is alleged that Lin engaged in an extensive, multi-faceted campaign of computer hacking and cyberstalking that began in April 2016 and continued until the date of his arrest, against a 24-year-old female victim, her family, friends and institutions associated with her. Lin, the victim’s former roommate, allegedly hacked into the victim’s online accounts and devices, stealing private photographs, personally identifiable information, and private diary entries that contained highly sensitive details about her medical, psychological and sexual history. It is alleged that Lin then distributed the victim’s private photographs and diary entries to hundreds of others.
Lin allegedly created and posted fraudulent online profiles in the victim’s name (with her photographs and home address) and solicited rape fantasies, including “gang bang” and other sexual activities, which in turn caused men to show up at her home. In addition, it is alleged that Lin falsely and repeatedly reported to law enforcement that there were bombs at the victim’s Waltham residence. Lin also allegedly created a false social media profile in the name of the victim’s roommate in Waltham and posted that he was going to “shoot up” a school in a nearby town. These threats were part of a larger pattern of threats to local schools and other institutions in her community.
“Mr. Lin allegedly carried out a relentless cyber stalking campaign against a young woman in a chilling effort to violate her privacy and threaten those around her,” said Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb. “While using anonymizing services and other online tools to avoid attribution, Mr. Lin harassed the victim, her family, friends, co-workers and roommates, and then targeted local schools and institutions in her community. Mr. Lin will now face the consequences of his crimes.”
“Those who think they can use the Internet to terrorize people and hide behind the anonymity of the net and outwit law enforcement should think again,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Department of Justice will be relentless in its efforts to identify, arrest, prosecute, and punish the perpetrators of these horrendous acts and seek justice on behalf of their victims.”
“As alleged, Mr. Lin orchestrated an extensive, multi-faceted campaign of computer hacking and online harassment that caused a huge amount of angst, alarm, and unnecessary expenditure of limited law enforcement resources,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division. “This kind of behavior is not a prank, and it isn’t harmless. He allegedly scared innocent people, and disrupted their daily lives, because he was blinded by his obsession. No one should feel unsafe in their own home, school, or workplace, and the FBI and our law enforcement partners hope today’s arrest will deter others from engaging in similar criminal conduct.”
“I want to thank the Waltham Police Detectives and the FBI Investigators who worked so diligently to bring this party to justice,” said Waltham Police Chief Keith D. MacPherson. “I also want to thank the Superintendent and the Waltham School Department for their efforts working in conjunction with law enforcement. I also want to recognize the Waltham Police Department Safety Officer and the School Resource Officers for their hard work ensuring the safety of our school children and faculty. This has been a lengthy and complex investigation involving many agencies and remains ongoing. We appreciate the patience and understanding of those in our community who were affected by these criminal acts and thank those who have allowed us to work towards the best result possible in our attempts to put an end to these disruptions.”
The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison and three years of supervised release. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting U.S. Attorney Weinreb, Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco, FBI SAC Shaw, and Waltham Police Chief MacPherson made the announcement today. The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to thank the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office and Watertown, Newton and Wellesley Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Harman Burkart of Weinreb’s Cybercrime Unit and Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.