back to article IT fraudster facing four years' bird time for $10k blackmail

An IT contractor who sabotaged a client's website and demanded $10,000 to restore it was this week convicted of wire fraud and sentenced to four years behind bars. Tavis Tso, 40, from Arizona, was also ordered by US District Judge David Campbell to pay $9,145 in restitution to the unnamed victim of his crime. Tso had …

  1. colinb

    Not funny

    "redirected their website to"

    Unhuh, I suspect he'll be in for a stiff sentence.

    I'm here all week and i'll get my coat.

    1. Jtom

      Re: Not funny

      And doing hard labour.

  2. 404 Silver badge

    Why did he do it though? Pure dicketry?

    Or did the victim owe him money for services rendered?

    I'm not defending what he did, interested in the motivation. Annnnd why is that? I personally am owed $33k+ for a website I designed from scratch under near impossible deadlines - almost cost me my marriage in fact. Clients skipped, I found the bastards and hit them with a lawyer stick, several sticks. By law I'm entitled to three times the original invoice and some day maybe I'll get my money. That was five years ago... still ongoing. I lost one of two company service trucks in a repossession and laid off the tech who used it due to the loss. He had a young family, I hated doing it, but I was facing personal bankruptcy by being fucked over at a critical time.

    Five years ago and I/my company still haven't fully recovered - yet those bastards who skipped have already formed new companies with cash reserves in the 7 figures... Laws.... pfft.

    1. HellDeskJockey

      Re: Why did he do it though? Pure dicketry?

      That's why I work for other people. In my 30 years there have been a lot of changes. Fighting to get paid hasn't changed one bit, still the same from when I was wet behind the ears to being a grizzled oldster. Today when they ask me about working on a PO I nicely explain they have to go through accounting and get approval first.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Why did he do it though? Pure dicketry?

        Get paid up front :)

        Whenever there is a discussion about payments in cash it is often implied that it's all about dodging the tax. The only real test is if they won't give you a VAT receipt, then it's dodgy. You can do it on a back of a fag packet if needed.

        I have to price in bad debts, late payments, billing and admin time to my charge for computer fixing. Assuming all the above, I'll take up to 40% off my hourly and halve my margin on kit for being paid in cash. Cash flow is king and all that.

        Oh, and sorry to hear about your travails OP. Way too many shysters who are successful at the expense of the honest business owner.

    2. usbac

      Re: Why did he do it though? Pure dicketry?

      A similar situation, but in reverse, happened to me recently.

      The company I work for purchased another smaller company that was having financial difficulties, and about to go bankrupt. Apparently, this deal was in the works for months. The first I hear about it is when the executives come to me and ask me to get the domain moved over to us, and to get the phone numbers ported.

      About this time I find out that they just received their second disconnect notice for their phones. Here in the US, once a number is disconnected, you lose the phone number forever, and it can't be ported. They knew about this deal for months, but didn't tell me about any of it until way late. Fortunately, our VOIP provider was able to get the porting request through in less than 24 hours, and we were able to keep the numbers.

      The domain was a bigger problem. This company didn't have any in house IT staff, and relied on a small IT service firm that was local to them. When they had this firm register the domain for them, the owner of the IT service firm registered it to himself. Not the best way to handle things, but not a big problem. At least that was what I thought. It turns out that while the company was having financial problems, they failed to pay the IT firm. About $13K to be exact.

      At this point I figure there is going to be lawyers and lawsuits involved to get the domain name back. And, I would kind of understand the IT contractor wanting to get paid before handing over the domain name. So I decide to take a shot at resolving this myself. I called the owner of this IT firm (Jay), and presented it as IT guy to IT guy just trying to solve the problem. It turns out that Jay is a very professional and honest guy. His response was "no problem, how can I help?" He was very helpful getting the domain registered to us. Frankly, even though I consider myself a very ethical person, I'm not sure I would have been so cooperative when someone owed me $13K! I, many years ago ran my own IT contracting company, and people stiffing me was one of the reasons I don't anymore.

      After getting everything worked out, I go to our CEO to update him on where everything is. He was very worried earlier when I told him the domain was registered to the IT contractor that was owed a lot of money. When I explained that Jay was very cooperative, our CEO was surprised. He made a comment about not many people that honest around anymore. He told me to give Jay his email address and have Jay send him the outstanding invoices. He said he would tell accounting to pay Jay what he is owed.

      Our CEO is a very good guy. That's why I still work here. I could make a lot more money elsewhere, but one needs to look at the big picture. When you work for someone that respects you, and trusts you, it makes a big difference. This is the same guy that took a sizable personal pay cut to avoid having to layoff anyone during the recession.

      This whole story is a good example of why doing the right thing should always the way to go.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Why did he do it though? Pure dicketry?

        Kudos to your boss. My kind of capitalist :)

        You can justify paying the money to Jay as a debt incurred by the takeover, and write it off if things go well. You can justify it to the board (or yourself) on the basis that Jay has proven himself to be a Good 'Un, based on current dealings, and the ability to hire or consult him is going to be worth every cent.

        Reward loyalty at every turn.

        Then you get usbac running your IT ;D

      2. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Why did he do it though? Pure dicketry?

        This whole story is a good example of why doing the right thing should always the way to go.

        True, however I believe this story is more an exception than the average rule: Your CEO being a very good and honest guy sadly proves it! I'm lucky to say now that my CEO is the same kind of yours but from my previous experiences, I can tell that either I was very unlucky or that many of them are ugly bastards, ranging from standard exploiters to the psychopathic kind.

    3. Aodhhan

      Re: Why did he do it though? Pure dicketry?

      I agree with you...

      Typical with reporters today... they provide a half-ass story because they're too lazy or too ignorant to do a bit of research in order to come up with questions and ensure all are answered.

      A business doesn't hire a contractor unless the contractors has an excellent work history. So there must have been something which triggered this individuals dark sided motivation to maliciously attack his client's network.

      However, no matter what this company did to him, it doesn't justify his actions. There are a lot of other things he could have done without putting his own freedom at risk.

  3. Youngone Silver badge

    Rhyming Slang

    Is it just me or should it be "Bird Lime"?

    1. toxicdragon

      Re: Rhyming Slang

      Possibly. Wiki says birdlime was a sticky substance used in catching birds. Not sure what the link there is but syrup of prunes and all that.

  4. Carl Pearson

    Sibling Rivalry

    In the latter 90's, I worked for an IT support company in Houston that was called upon to help troubleshoot email delivery issues at a small brokerage house.

    They had a - for then - blazingly fast ISDN connection, and the owner of the firm read his email on a workstation running NT 3.5.

    Unfortunately Outlook Express started freezing up, and he couldn't receive new messages after a certain date.

    He had also recently fired his brother, the IT guy for the firm, after discovering he was using that "fast" connection to run a porno BBS on the side.

    I looked at it for a while and finally figured out something in Outlook Express was timing out, so the next message in the queue would never get delivered. We didn't have access to the email server so all I could do was try to download the message another way.

    Don't recall which app I used, but switching to another program finally did let the message get downloaded onto his machine.

    Turns out it was a 30 second or so movie of a gal with a donkey.

    We were all sure the brother did it on purpose for getting fired, but our job was done so we wished the owner well and moved on to the next gig.

    Would imagine their next family get-together was fairly tense...

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