The twin brothers who admitted earlier this year that they perpetrated a series of computer hacking and other schemes to steal credit card information and access sensitive State Department materials were sentenced Friday to respective terms of a little more than three years and two years in prison, authorities said.
Muneeb Akhter, 23, faced the longer penalty — three years and three months — as prosecutors alleged his hacking continued even while he was behind bars. Prosecutors had requested that he spend six years in prison and that his brother, Sohaib Akhter, spend four, court records show.
Muneeb’s attorneys argued for leniency but did not request a specific term; Sohaib’s attorney argued his client should be sentenced to a year of home confinement, the records show.
The brothers were computer prodigies who attained high levels of education (both had master’s degrees) and good jobs before they were undone by their crimes. They admitted in plea agreements that they stole credit card information from the computer systems of a cosmetics company that was owned by a third co-conspirator’s mother, then used it to buy food, sporting equipment, electronics and flights.
They also admitted to accessing passport information from the State Department, where Sohaib worked as a contractor, and Sohaib admitted that he tried to install a physical device at the department that would give him and Muneeb unauthorized, remote access.
After Muneeb had his bond revoked, authorities found he secretly created a system at the Alexandria Detention Center that allowed inmates to send private messages to each other, prosecutors alleged.
The pair, both from Springfield, Va., were both sentenced by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in federal district court in Alexandria.