A Computer Search For Hidden Marital Assets?
I. Alleged Hidden Marital Assets At A Bahamian Trust
Mrs. Jennifer Stein suspected her anesthesiologist husband Dr. Barry D. Stein, had hidden marital assets during their divorce. According to Mrs. Stein, Dr. Stein transferred assets to a Bahamian trust to place them out of Mrs. Stein’s reach. Dr. Stein allegedly manipulated the family finances, Mrs. Stein said. Therefore, Mrs. Stein claims she needed to preserve evidence at the computer she shared with Dr. Stein in their marital home, (“the home computer”). Meanwhile, Dr. Stein used the home computer to access a database with patient medical records, employment records and additional data. Since federal and state laws required Dr. Stein to keep the medical records private, Dr. Stein’s database was password protected at the home computer.
Although Dr. Stein had his own password to access the database, Mrs. Stein is believed to have discovered what Dr. Stein’s password was. On April 2, 2018, Mrs. Stein might have used Dr. Stein’s password at the home computer, without Dr. Stein’s permission. At that time, Mrs. Stein may have copied Dr. Stein’s database to an external USB hard drive even though the database had patient medical records and other confidential data. A paralegal who worked for Mrs. Stein’s divorce lawyers the Needle Cuda Firm & / or the Law Offices of Melissa Needle, LLC, may have helped Mrs. Stein copy Dr. Stein’s database.
II. Dr. Stein Sues Mrs. Stein Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
In Stein v. Needle, 19-cv-01634, Dr. Stein and 2 business entities, (which Dr. Stein owned & / or was a partner of), sued Mrs. Stein, the Needle Cuda Firm and others under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act at 18 U.S.C. § 1030 (“the Act”). Under the Act, prosecutors can bring criminal charges against hackers. The Act also allows victims to bring civil lawsuits in federal court against hackers. In the lawsuits, the victims can sue hackers for compensatory damages, injunctive relief or other equitable relief.
At its March 29, 2021 Decision, the Court refused to dismiss Dr. Stein’s lawsuit. The Court indicated under the Act, it was irrelevant whether or not the home computer was marital property. Nor did it matter under the Act, that the home computer was shared by Dr. & Mrs. Stein in their marital home. Page 23 of the Court’s Decision explained what mattered under the Act, was that Dr. Stein’s lawsuit alleged “enough facts to show that at the very least Mrs. Stein exceeded authorized access by entering a password to Dr. Stein’s subaccount without permission to do so.”
Copyright 2022 Fred L. Abrams
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