The two methods the defendant Robert Lyttle used the perpetrate his hacker crimes against the United States government included gaining unauthorized access to the computers of the governmental agencies, including the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistic Information Service (DLIS), the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), and NASA’s Ames Research Center (ARC), and defacing the web sites hosted on those computers by the information obtained from the illegally accessed web sites for the sum of over $70,000. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), also known as 18 U.S.C. § 1030, has established policy solutions for crimes of this kind.
First, for the unauthorized access of the governmental computers where the governmentally protected information is stored, the CFAA determines the considerable material fine and/or the imprisonment for the term of one to twenty years. In case of the repeated violation of the CFAA, article (a)(1), both punishments might be imposed, with a prison sentence coming after the convicted person carries out the restitution of the damages his/her activities have caused to the Government. As well, Mr. Lyttle caused the loss of $70,000 to the Government, and the CFAA, article (5)(A) presupposes the fine and one to ten years of imprisonment to any person causing the damage of $1,000 or more.
If the total monetary damages the government was able to prove, less court, incarceration, and attorney expenses were $4,821.29, the defendant Mr. Lyttle would still be convicted for the violations of the CFAA articles (a)(1) and (5)(A) because the CFAA does not determine the possibility (or impossibility) or conviction on the basis of the sum of the financial damage caused if this sum exceeds $1,000. In any case, according to the CFAA, the person guilty of unauthorized access to the Governmental computers is convicted for the prison term of one to twenty years, with or without the duty to restitute the damages caused.
The point about the sum of $4,821.29 concerns the possibility of imposing the fine on Mr. Lyttle besides his prison sentence. Given that the damage Mr. Lyttle caused amounts to $70,000, the defendant is eligible for a $600,000 fine for unauthorized accessing of the computers of the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistic Information Service (DLIS), the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), and NASA’s Ames Research Center (ARC). However, if the sum of damage caused was $4,821.29, the fine would not be imposed. The reason for this is the 1987 Welsh v. City of Philadelphia Case, in which the court billed Ms. Welsh for vacating her accommodation to another place and demolishing her old house for $4,821.30. This case served as the stimulus for the precedent law to establish the sum of $4,821.30 as minimum damage to the Government, state, or city, for which the fine is imposed.