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United States of America v. Jacob Waitze
Case Number: 2:18-cr-00178-PD
Judge: Paul S. Diamond
Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Seth Schlessinger
Defendant's Attorney: Mark Cedrone
Digital Forensics & Cyber Security
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Philadelphia, PA - Former Drexel University Student Sentenced for Cyberstalking Classmate
Jacob Waitze, 23, of Southbury, Connecticut, was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years’ supervised release. Waitze previously pleaded guilty to cyberstalking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2261A(2)(b).
During the 2015-16 school year, Waitze, a former Drexel University student, used a computer and the Internet to engage in a campaign of harassment and intimidation against a Drexel student following a personal dispute with the student. Waitze impersonated the victim in a variety of Internet forums, suggesting that the victim was either a pedophile who needed help or someone interested in receiving child pornography material. In doing so, the communications and statements Waitze made typically included the victim’s true name, the victim’s actual e-mail address, photographs of the victim, and/or actual personal details concerning the victim, such as the victim’s status as a Drexel student. As a result, the victim received multiple unwanted emails, both from persons who were offended by the posts and from persons who wanted to engage the victim in conversations related to child pornography.
“In taking on the victim’s persona online, Waitze used the Internet as a weapon to carry out his personal vendetta,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “By giving others the impression that this victim was interested in child exploitation, Waitze caused the victim a great deal of harm. Today’s sentence demonstrates that my Office will hold cyberstalkers accountable when they misuse technology in this manner.”
“HSI is hopeful that today’s sentencing provides the victim in this case a sense of relief after the months of abuse and harassment they endured at the hands of Mr. Waitze,” said Marlon V. Miller, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Philadelphia. “HSI takes these crimes seriously and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable cyberstalkers who cause long-lasting damage to the reputations of their victims for their own selfish gain.”
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Drexel University Police Department.
18:2261A(2)(B),2261(b)(5) - CYBER-STALKING
(1) travels in interstate or foreign commerce or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, or causes substantial emotional distress to that person, a member of the immediate family (as defined in section 115) of that person, or the spouse or intimate partner of that person; or
(2) with the intent—
(A) to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or
(B) to place a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to—
(i) that person;
(ii) a member of the immediate family (as defined in section 115 1 of that person; or
(iii) a spouse or intimate partner of that person;
uses the mail, any interactive computer service, or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that causes substantial emotional distress to that person or places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, any of the persons described in clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (B); 2
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 24 months' in prison, followed by three years' of supervised release.