Capital One Hack Suspect Ordered To Remain In Prison

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Seattle resident seen as presenting a flight risk and a threat to herself and others following breach that affected 106 million banking customers

A judge has ordered Paige Thompson, the suspect in the hack of Capital One earlier this year, to remain in custody until her trial at an as-yet undetermined date.

The Seattle judge said Thompson is a flight risk and a threat to herself and others and should not be moved to a halfway house, as her attorneys had argued.

Earlier this week lawyers for Thompson, a transgender woman, had tried to have her moved out of custody and placed under GPS monitoring to give her better access to mental health care and to avoid exposing her to abuse in prison.

“We do not detain people without a criminal history, not even a speeding ticket”, as a flight risk, federal public defender Mohammad Hamoudi told the court.

Threats

He argued that in prison many transgender women are exposed to conditions that can lead to lifelong trauma and death.  Thompson is currently being held in the SeaTac Federal Detention Centre and has been placed in the male wing.

“The federal detention centre is not equipped to treat gender dysphoria,” Hamoudi said.

But prosecutors cited threats Thompson had made against herself and others, including threats to “shoot up” the offices of an unnamed social media company and to commit “suicide by cop”.

“Threats like this resonate particularly in this day and age,” said assistant US attorney Andrew Friedman.

Prosecutors presented documents detailing three three stalking allegations filed against Thompson in previous years and a message sent in September of last year in which she spoke of a desire to travel to Tijuiana, Mexico, to “do a little medical suicide tourism”.

Friedman said halfway houses “are not secure facilities”.

Flight risk

The judge sided with prosecutors and ruled that releasing Thompson would present too many risks.

Thompson was arrested in July as investigators’ principal suspect in a hack of Capital One that affected more than 106 million individuals, including the breach of 140,000 social security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers.

In court, prosecutors said they found “multiple terabytes” of data stolen by Thompson from more than 30 other companies, educational institutions and other organisations.

Thompson told investigators she did not sell or share any of the data, and Capital One has said it does not believe the data was made public.

The bank is now the subject of several lawsuits as a result of the breach, which is expected to cost the company between $100m (£80m) and $150m this year alone.

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