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NYPD detective 'hacks' officers' email accounts

Edwin Vargas accused of paying online criminal enterprise to break into 43 email accounts, including 19 which belonged to fellow officers

By J. David Goodman
The New York Times

NEW YORK — It was the sort of discovery that is usually the mark of good police work: A Bronx detective came upon an online criminal enterprise that offered — for a low price — to hack into private e-mail accounts. But the detective was not seeking to build a case against the outfit, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday. Rather, prosecutors said, he became a client.

Using information bought from the hackers, the detective, Edwin Vargas, obtained login information for at least 43 e-mail accounts associated with 30 people, including at least 19 members of the New York Police Department in the Bronx, according to a complaint unsealed in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

The reason for the digital snooping appeared to be personal, law enforcement officials said: Detective Vargas, 42, suspected a former girlfriend — also an employee of the Police Department, an official said — had started a new relationship with a fellow officer. Detective Vargas and the woman had a child together, officials said, but had broken up.

Full Story: Bronx Officer Is Accused of Hiring E-Mail Hackers

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