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Feds say Ocoee man hacked charity in search for terrorist ties

Known as "hacktivists," they're private citizens who take the law into their own online hands, often in the name of freedom of information (think of Julian Assange). Some hacktivists use their skills to lay waste to websites created to recruit people into terrorist organizations and sites used to finance shadowy terror groups.

Is an Ocoee man a hacktivist? Not even the federal investigators who recently charged him with computer hacking seem to know. He apparently has told them little, except that he was researching financial connections between a global charity and jihadist organizations.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the unnamed charity is in New York, where prosecutors have said the suspect used password-cracking software in early-summer attempts to breach the charity's online security.

The hacking software was on a number of the 30 computers he had in his home about 12 miles west of Orlando. According to documents inside the house, he had extensively researched several members of the charity's upper management.

The man apparently told investigators that charities "are unintentionally financing jihadist groups" by sending funds to charitable organizations in the Middle East; funds which find its way to terrorists.

If convicted of hacking, he faces up to five years in a federal prison. If he has uncovered ties to terror groups, would a court take that into consideration during sentencing? That is one of many questions about mitigating circumstances he might well pose to a criminal defense attorney.

In situations like his, an experienced attorney negotiates with prosecutors to reduce the severity of charges and makes mitigating circumstances clear to the court as well.the Law Offices of Horwitz & Citro, P.A., vigorously represents you at every step of the judicial process to protect your rights and ensure that your actions and statements are not misrepresented.