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Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

DOJ sentences Seattle man to 9 years in prison: His ‘cyberstalking activity was unprecedented’

By meerna Jul11,2024
DOJ sentences Seattle man to 9 years in prison: His ‘cyberstalking activity was unprecedented’

A Seattle man was sentenced yesterday to nine years in prison for six counts of cyberstalking and an additional charge of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking.

Sumit Garg, 33, previously worked as a privacy consultant before becoming involved in a harassment campaign that included thousands of threats sent via emails and online messages.

“This defendant’s cyberstalking activities are unparalleled in this district, and indeed the nation. In thousands of emails and text messages, Mr. Garg threatened violence against his victims — including police and prosecutors,” said U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman. “He attempted to turn his victims into stalkers. Court orders and prison time did not deter him. Ultimately, he was detained in federal custody, and this sentence will protect the public for years to come.”

More cases of harassment:Renton detectives investigate Apple AirTags harassment cases

According to police, Garg’s stalking began after he sent threatening and sexually explicit messages to a woman who shared the flat with his wife. The behaviour began after two of his flatmates (his wife and the victim) argued over rent. When Garg moved into the flat with his wife, he “threatened and harassed the former flatmate” using personal information he had recovered from the house.

The former roommate reported the behavior to police in April 2020, but Garg and his wife thwarted the actions by filing false police reports that blamed the former roommate. The reports that Garg and his wife falsely filed claimed they were the victims of harassment, not the other way around.

Garg threatened multiple people in the victim’s life.

“(That included) her uncle who represented her in obtaining a civil protection order, her boyfriend, a Seattle police detective who investigated the threats, and even an assistant prosecutor who prosecuted Garg for his illegal stalking,” Gorman said.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) repeatedly cited his “computer skills” in its sentencing statement, saying he was able to mask threats and harassment so that they could not be traced back to him.

“The stalking campaign became increasingly violent, eventually including gruesome threats of rape, torture and death,” Gorman said. “Over time, Garg’s stalking campaign included thousands of emails sent from dozens of accounts created for the purpose of stalking.”

Garg was charged a little less than a year later, in March 2021, but the campaign of harassment didn’t end there. He enlisted his wife to send harassing emails to himself and others while he was in custody, to make it seem like he was harassing someone else. She initially complied, but eventually cooperated with law enforcement.

“In her testimony before the court, Garg’s wife said she finally felt free to tell the truth when he was arrested on federal charges and would not return home to verbally and physically abuse her,” Justice Department prosecutors said in a prepared statement. Prosecutors also wanted to make clear that they believe Garg never admitted responsibility for his criminal activities.

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“Although Garg clearly took pleasure in the suffering of his victims, he seemed completely incapable of empathy for others,” prosecutors said. “With a seemingly insatiable desire to settle scores, Garg took a simple rent dispute between roommates and turned it into a massive cyberstalking campaign against an ever-increasing number of victims, making grotesque and brutal threats that are nearly impossible to fathom.”

Garg has been held in SeaTac Federal Detention Center since he was charged in 2021.

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

By meerna

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