NEW YORK, Aug 14 (Reuters) - The Manhattan district
attorney's office will build a new cybercrime lab with $4.2
million in funding from the New York City Council, officials
Computer crime has been a top priority for District Attorney
Cyrus Vance, who created a cybercrime and identity theft unit in
2010 and has emphasized the need for additional resources.
"Cybercrime and identify theft are among the fastest growing
crimes in the country," Vance said in a statement. "Nearly every
case we prosecute -- financial fraud, terrorism, even street
crimes -- depends upon the resources and expertise of my
Office's Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau."
The announcement comes less than a week after Vance's office
charged former Goldman Sachs computer programmer Sergey Aleynikov with stealing secret trading code from the bank. In
February, the 2nd U.S Circuit Court of Appeals vacated his
federal conviction for the same conduct.
The $4.2 million will be used to build a new lab facility
within the district attorney's offices, enabling prosecutors and
forensic analysts to sit in the same location for the first
The lab will perform forensic analysis of digital evidence,
such as computers and cell phones, and allow prosecutors to draw
links between seemingly unconnected incidents.
"In this day and age, we need more sophisticated tools to
fight the complex crimes that are taking place on the web -- the
new crime scene of the modern age," Council Speaker Christine
Quinn said in a statement.
The funds represent just below 4 percent of the district
attorney's total spending last year. The additional funding
comes a month after the city's 2012-13 budget included a gain of
only $250,000 for Vance's office, the smallest of any of the
city's district attorneys.
Vance's cybercrime unit has targeted several high-profile
identity theft rings in recent years and handles approximately
200 to 300 new identity theft crimes a month.
Last summer, the office indicted 26 individuals accused of
trading sexually explicit images of children over the Internet.
According to Vance, the unit analyzes 1,000 cell phones a
year, while the number of computers analyzed by the unit nearly
tripled from 2010 to 2011.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax)
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