Justin Sean Johnson Admits Hacking and Stealing

Former Michigan Resident, Justin Sean Johnson Admits Hacking UPMC HR Databases and Stealing Employees’ Personal Information

PITTSBURGH, PA (STL.News) A Michigan man pleaded guilty today to hacking the human resources databases of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and stealing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of more than 65,000 UPMC employees, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Justin Sean Johnson, aka TheDearthStar and Dearthy Star on the dark web, 30, of Detroit, Michigan, pleaded guilty to Counts 1 and 39 of a 43-count Indictment before Chief United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak. Johnson was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on May 20, 2020, and the case was unsealed on June 18, 2020 following his arrest.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Johnson, known on the dark web as TheDearthStar and Dearthy Star, infiltrated and hacked into the UPMC human resource server databases in 2013 and 2014 and stole sensitive PII and W-2 information belonging to tens of thousands of UPMC employees.  The information was sold by Johnson on dark web forums for use by conspirators, who promptly filed hundreds of false 1040 tax returns in 2014 using UPMC employee PII. 

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