Cranston woman accused of sending phishing emails to political candidates

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BOSTON (WPRI) — A Cranston woman has been charged in connection to a phishing scheme targeting at least two political candidates, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Diana Lebeau, 21, is charged with attempted unauthorized access to a protected computer.

Court documents reveal that in January 2020, Lebeau sent emails to approximately 22 members of the campaign staff of a candidate for political office. In those emails, which appeared to be from the campaign’s managers or one of the campaign’s co-chairs, Lebeau asked recipients to put their account credentials into an attached spreadsheet or into a linked Google Form.

Lebeau is also accused of sending the emails to candidate’s spouse and others at the spouse’s workplace.

Those emails, according to court documents, were disguised as being from Microsoft’s “Security Team” or from an employee of the workplace’s technology helpdesk, and requested account credentials or information about their computers be placed into an attached spreadsheet or a website that mimicked their employer’s.

Prosecutors also said Lebeau sent phishing emails to another political candidate in March 2020, this time from what appeared to be their cable and internet provider. The emails contained a false login link that the recipient could use to address an issue by entering their account credentials.

Lebeau, according to prosecutors, also impersonated the candidate in online chats with the cable and internet provider in an attempt to reset and obtain the candidate’s password.

Court documents stated Lebeau did not act with financial, political motive or to benefit a foreign government, instrumentality or agent.

She is expected to make an appearance in federal court at a later date and faces up to one year in prison, one year of supervised release, a fine of up to $100,000 and forfeiture.

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