Women in Music 2019

Alleged Hacker Indicted for Impersonating a Producer to Steal Unreleased Music

Dragan Smiljkovic/Getty Images
    

A 27-year-old Austin, Texas, man allegedly stole and leaked more than 50 gigabytes of music, some of it unreleased, by impersonating a music executive on social media and hacking two management companies, according to the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office.   

"Christian Erazo and his co-conspirators allegedly hacked the accounts of music producers and management companies in order to steal over 50 gigabytes of content — including some music that had yet to be publicly released — and leaked it on the internet," U.S. Attorney General Geoffrey S. Berman said Monday in a statement. "Not only did this scheme cause the companies, producers, and artists financial harm, Erazo deprived the artists of the ability to release their own exclusive content at their discretion."   

Erazo was arrested Monday and is facing charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft, the last of which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years' imprisonment.   

According to the indictment, Erazo was allegedly involved in the scheme from late 2016 through late 2017. He is accused of hacking a music producer's social media account and private messaging artists asking them to send their unreleased music to a fake email address that incorporated the producer's name. He also is accused of hacking the cloud accounts of two management companies. Erazo and an unnamed co-conspirator also allegedly told one of the management companies they hacked, and an undercover federal agent, that one of the company's employees was responsible for the breach.  

Erazo later voluntarily admitted to the crimes to law enforcement, according to the indictment, and a forensic analysis of his computer showed at least 850 stolen music files.

The victims are not named and are described as a Los Angeles-based recording artist and producer; a music management company with an office in New York and more than 20 recording artist and producer clients across the globe; and a Beverly Hills-based management company that represents more than 40 recording artists around the world. Several other victims are also mentioned in the indictment: a manager, the founder of one of the music management companies, three other producers and one musician.

Read the full indictment on THR.com.


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