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Man pleads guilty to stealing UPMC employee data, selling it on dark web

PITTSBURGH — A man from Michigan pleaded guilty Thursday to hacking into the human resources databases of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and stealing the personal information of more than 65,000 UPMC employees.

Justin Sean Johnson, 30, of Detroit, Michigan, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on May 20, 2020.

Johnson, also known as TheDearthStar and Dearthy Star on the dark web, hacked into the databases in 2013 and 2014 and sold the information on the dark web. These people filed hundreds of false 1040 tax returns in 2014 using UPMC employee’s information.

These false 1040 filings claimed hundreds of thousands of dollars of illegal tax refunds, which they converted into gift cards used to purchase merchandise that was then shipped to Venezuela.

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From 2014 to 2017, Johnson stole and sold personal information from nearly 90,000 other people not connected to UPMC.

Johnson faces time in prison and a hefty fine for each count.