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Smooth Criminals

Smooth Criminals

She Speaks! Silicon Swindler Shirley Hornstein Comes Clean

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Last August, TechCrunch broke the story of Shirley Hornstein, a Photoshopping fabricator who ingratiated herself into Silicon Valley circles by name-dropping nonexistent connections. Her behavior eventually prompted Founders Fund to file a complaint to stop her from claiming she worked for them.

Following that report, Betabeat published claims that Ms. Hornstein, a former roommate of TechCrunch community manager Elin Blesener, was also guilty of credit card fraud, duping at least one former employer (Giftiki) as well as personal friends. Billing statements–provided by a friend who urged Ms. Hornstein to seek help–showed that “Shirls” used a stolen credit card to buy a plane ticket twice. Read More

Smooth Criminals

Records Point to Credit Card Fraud by Silicon Swindler Shirley Hornstein

Ms. Hornstein (Photo: Facebook)

This week, the world was introduced to Shirley Hornstein: an ersatz entrepreneur who Photoshopped and name-dropped her way through Silicon Valley. For at least a year and a half, Ms. Hornstein has been trading on flimsily fabricated connections to powerful tech investors, startups, and celebrities–always depending, as TechCrunch first reported, on the optimism of strangers.

“She told people she had the authority to approve up to a $1 million investment from Founders Fund. That was her line,” an investor from Los Angeles who recently moved to San Francisco told Betabeat, recounting the time Ms. Hornstein cajoled a pair of young entrepreneurs into pitching her on a Saturday, convincing them on Sunday that she had already heard back from the board with good news.

The fact that Ms. Hornstein’s roommate was TechCrunch community manager Elin Blesener also helped “legitimize her,” the same investor added. Read More

Smooth Criminals

Manhattan DA Will Launch High-Tech Cybercrime Lab to Sleuth Out Identity Theft and Child Porn

Mr. Vance

Keeping up with criminals is like keeping up with the Joneses. It often requires making some state-of-the-art purchases. Thus Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is planning on investing $2.4 million in City Council funding into a new High Technology Analysis Unit (HTAU) lab set to launch by the end of next year.

As Speaker Christine Quinn told DNAinfo, it’s all about catching up with the bad guys. “In this day and age, we need to be as sophisticated as the criminals are, using every tool we can,” she said, calling the Internet, “the new crime scene of the modern age.” Law & Order: JavaScript? Read More

Smooth Criminals

DA’s Office Announces Sentences for S3, Brooklyn’s Apple Store-Targeting, Family-Run Cyber Gang

AppleStore

Today Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced sentencing for 16 members of a cybercrime ring based in Brooklyn calling itself “S3.” Members of the group admitted to credit card forgery and identity theft that compromised hundreds of bank accounts. Using counterfeit credit cards, they fraudulently purchased Apple products around the country and resold them for profit.

In a press release announcing the sentencing, Mr. Vance called S3 “truly a family affair.”  Read More