A Romanian national accused of hacking into the online accounts of public figures ended up extradited to the United States where he made his first court appearance last week.
Romania’s High Court of Cassation and Justice agreed to extradite Marcel Lazar Lehel, 44, known online as Guccifer, to the United States for a period of 18 months.
U.S. authorities said the man hacked into the email and social media accounts of two former presidents, a former cabinet member, a former presidential advisor, and a former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff between December 2012 and January 2014.
The indictment does not name any of the victims and refers to them as “victim” 1 through 5.
The hacker stands accused of releasing private emails, personal photographs, and medical and financial information belonging to the victims.
Lehel is facing three counts of wire fraud, three counts of gaining unauthorized access to a protected computer, cyber stalking, aggravated identity theft, and obstruction of justice, according to the indictment.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia said the man faces up to 20 years in prison, with a two-year mandatory minimum for the identity theft charges.
During the time he was active, Guccifer was also under suspicion of hacking into the accounts of various actors, journalists and businessmen, but the charges filed by U.S. authorities focus on the attacks targeting officials.
Lehel ended up arrested by Romanian authorities in January 2014 after hacking into the email accounts of Romanian politician Corina Cretu and George Maior, the head of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).
He ended up sentenced by a Romanian court to seven years in prison for these attacks.
Lehel had been known by Romanian law enforcement as “Little Fume.” He had previously received a three-year suspended sentence for hacking into the accounts of Romanian celebrities.