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Report: International Hacker Was “Party Boy of the (Lower East Side) Projects”

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Hector Monsegur.

This morning the Times has an interesting profile of Hector Monsegur, the Lower East Side loner at the center of an international hacking scheme that was revealed earlier this week.

The resident of the Jacob Riis Houses was the onetime ringleader of a group of “politically motivated hacktivists.”  He was arrested last summer, became a government informant and played a pivotal role in taking down a loose organization that victimized one-million people and tormented many large corporations.

The Times calls Monsegur, the “party boy of the projects.”  From apartment 6 F at 90 Avenue D,”Sabu,” Monsegur’s internet alias, achieved “larger than life” status.  His reality outside the confines of those four walls was a bit different:

A defensive-lineman-size man known as Booby, he was raising the two young children of his imprisoned aunt in a public housing project. Court documents showed that Mr. Monsegur, 28, paid bills with stolen credit cards and dabbled in drug sales. In one neighborly gesture, he offered to use his hacking skills to sweeten other tenants’ credit ratings… His father, also named Hector Monsegur, was arrested in 1997 along with his sister, Iris, for selling heroin. Both went to prison for seven years. While his father was locked up, Mr. Monsegur apparently moved in with his grandmother, Irma, who lived in a sixth-floor apartment in the Jacob Riis Houses…

Monsegur has apparently been a hacker since the age of 16.  Neighbors told the Times he had a tough time dealing with personal problems in recent years:

(They said) Mr. Monsegur became more disruptive after his grandmother died a couple of years ago. “That messed him up,” a family member said. Most residents of the complex who knew him would speak only on condition of anonymity, out of fear of retribution from him and his friends. These neighbors said that besides the children, he seemed to live with a number of others. Some found him an irksome presence. “He partied all night,” one neighbor said. “I always made complaints to the police. Nothing was done.” One neighbor complained twice to Community Board 3 about the chronic noise, as recently as last week. She said it would persist from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m., seven days a week… There were those who found Mr. Monsegur gracious. One man who lived in the complex told of losing his wallet a year ago while stepping out of a cab. Mr. Monsegur happened to find it, tracked down the man and returned it…

Monsegur could face up to 122 years in prison, but he’s expected to receive a lenient sentence for cooperating with authorities. His whereabouts are unknown. Court documents indicated the government’s willingness to place him in the witness protection program, if needed.


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