White-Collar Crime

Neighbor Gets 18 Years for Hacking Lawyer's Wi-Fi Account, Using His ID to Harass Others

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Attorney Matt Kostolnik wound up with a seeming MySpace page featuring teens having sex and was visited at work by the Secret Service after the Minneapolis lawyer moved next door to a computer technician who quickly developed a grudge against him and his wife.

Law firm superiors also wanted an explanation from the Moss & Barnett civil litigator concerning the sexually suggestive messages sent to women at work in Kostolnik’s name.

The bizarre answer: His neighbor, Barry Ardolf, who is now 46, had spent weeks penetrating the Kostolniks’ encrypted Wi-Fi account, in order to impersonate the attorney and discredit him by posting and sending incriminating material under his identity. Email sent from the lawyer’s account threatening Vice President Joe Biden resulted in the visit from the Secret Service.

Described as a “depraved criminal” by prosecutors, Ardolf was sentenced yesterday to 18 years in prison for the 2009 cyber attack on Kostolnik, Wired reports. Ardolf had previously turned down a plea bargain that would have provided for a two-year prison term.

Computer and paper records showing that he’d had access to Kostolnik’s accounts helped the government win a conviction against Ardolf in the District of Minnesota case. His former neighbors said the computer technician had also harassed them; they say they think he was angered that caregivers for their disabled daughters would park in front of his home.

Ardolf had no prior record, his lawyer notes. He must forfeit his computer equipment and home as part of his sentence.

An earlier ABAJournal.com post provides more details of the onslaught against Kostolnik:

Angry at Attorney, Neighbor Hacked His Encrypted Wi-Fi & Sent Child Porn to His Law Firm Colleagues

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