Austin Man Indicted for Stealing Unreleased Music from Artists

music producer impersonation theft

He and co-conspirators stole 50 gigs of music and leaked some of it onto the internet.

A 27-year-old man who allegedly impersonated a music producer in an effort to nab unreleased music from various artists has been indicted. If convicted, he faces 27 years in prison on charges of conspiring with others to commit wire fraud, computer intrusion and committing aggravated identity theft.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, Manhattan division, on Monday said that Christian Erazo allegedly hacked the unidentified producer’s social-networking account, then used the access to pretend to be him. From there, he directed artists to send their unreleased music to a fake email account in the producer’s name, prosecutors said.

According to the indictment, Erazo also hacked the cloud accounts of two music management companies in the same quest to steal unreleased music.

Erazo’s activity allegedly took place between late 2016 and April 2017, when he and unspecified co-conspirators stole more than 50 gigabytes of music from more than 20 recording artists, as well as usernames and passwords to other online accounts. They then leaked unreleased tracks on public online forums, the indictment claims.

“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,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.  “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’s conduct is a reminder of the potential destruction hackers can inflict, and the need for all users to practice strong measures against cyber-intrusions.”

Erazo was arrested in Austin, Texas, on Monday and indicted the same day.  He was presented in federal court in the Western District of Texas on Tuesday, before United States Magistrate Judge Mark Lane.

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