The Baltimore Sun and Martinsville Bulletin recently reported on the strange case of Ahmad Kazzelbach. Kazzelbach plead guilty to cyber stalking and improper access of a computer and was sentenced to four years in federal prison. The presiding Judge, U.S. District Court Judge James K. Bredar, was quoted as saying “This was a shameless abuse of the justice process” when handing down the sentence that was well above the sentencing guidelines and even the prosecutor’s recommendation. Initially, however, it was Kazzelbach’s ex-girlfriend who had been the suspect and not the victim in the matter.
It all started when Kazzelbach and his ex-girlfriend, identified only as J.K. in court records, broke up in 2016 after an approximately one-year relationship. Kazzelbach quickly began harassing J.K. by simply taking over social media accounts to post false and sometimes misleading messages. The harassment steadily escalated to a point where he was logging into J.K.’s online health insurance portal and making changes to affect her coverage and even disqualified her from a Medicaid plan in which she was enrolled. Kazzelbach went even further over the following months using the compromised social media accounts and email spoofing to send himself threatening messages that to a casual observer appeared to be coming from his ex. He then used these messages to file reports against her in both Anne Arundel and Baltimore County Maryland. These reports eventually led to a protective order against her and even two arrests totaling four nights in jail when Kazzelbach continued to report threats after the order was issued.
The scheme began to unravel when Baltimore County Police convinced Kazzelbach to allow them to review the contents of his cell phone. The results of their digital forensic review didn’t mesh with previous reports. They also compared his claims to his carrier’s cellphone records and these records obviously did not line up with his reports either. Finally, in February of 2019, FBI agents arrested Kazzelbach bringing the near relentless harassment of J.K. to an end.
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Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology