Man gets 3 years for hacking police websites

SALT LAKE CITY — A 22-year-old Ohio man linked to the hacker collective Anonymous was sentenced Thursday to three years in federal prison for breaking into police and other websites across the country.

John Borell of Toledo pleaded guilty to computer fraud in April and agreed to pay $227,000 in damages to computer servers that had to be repaired or beefed up for security.

In early 2012, Borell attacked a server for Utahchiefs.org, a website for Syracuse, N.Y., police, the municipal website of Springfield, Mo., and a site for the Los Angeles County Police Canine Association, according to a signed plea deal.

FBI officials have said citizen complaints about drugs and other crimes were accessed along with personal data of informants and police officers.

Damage he caused put the website of Salt Lake City police out of operation for four months while a more secure site was launched.

A newlywed, Borell was given until Dec. 6 to surrender at a federal prison near his family’s home in Toledo.

Authorities have said Borell was tied to Anonymous, a loosely organized group of pranksters and activists that has targeted organizations such as MasterCard and the Church of Scientology.

During sentencing in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, Borell — dressed in a suit with a pink shirt — told Judge Robert J. Shelby that his marriage was going well and his wife was providing personal support. He said little else.

The judge touched on a history of Borell’s personal problems that apparently were a factor in the hackings. The defendant was ordered to accept mental health treatment and stay away from drugs. None of these issues, however, were fully explained in open court.

Outside court, Borell refused to answer any questions about his motives. He will spend three years on supervised release after prison.

“We don’t want to see you in court again,” Shelby said.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons will make the final decision on where Borell serves his sentence after he turns himself in. The judge recommended a prison in Michigan near his family home.

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