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Pa. man sentenced to prison for accessing Web mail accounts

June 17, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Lebanon, Pa., man was sentenced this week to six to 23 1/2 months in Franklin County Prison for illegally accessing the Web mail accounts of Penn State University students.

Edward Barrenechea, 29, was sentenced Wednesday by Franklin County Judge Richard J. Walsh on two counts of identity theft, according to court records. In addition to the jail time, he received three years of probation.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, a student at the Penn State Mont Alto campus reported to campus police that her Web mail account had been accessed and the password changed.

The university's Information Technology and Computer Security Department investigated and found out that the substituted password was assigned to Barrenechea, police said.

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Investigators also found that five other students had their university Web mail accounts accessed and passwords changed.

The affidavit of probable cause stated that Barrenechea was a "student worker" in the Information Technology Department at Penn State's campus in Harrisburg, Pa.

Barrenechea originally was charged with five counts each of computer trespass and identity theft, according to the affidavit.

He pleaded guilty to the two identity theft charges on April 24, according to court records.

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