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Jayess man convicted for ‘cyber’ crime spree

Authorities are warning residents to be cautious when dispersingpersonal information by computer, following the arrest andconviction of a Jayess man who hacked into a local college’scomputer system for personal gain.

Earlier this week, James “Jimmy” Hewitt, 22, of 743 Tim LambertLane, Jayess, pleaded guilty to computer fraud and grand larcenystemming from a cyber crime spree, according to Attorney GeneralMike Moore, Lincoln County District Attorney Danny Smith andLincoln County Sheriff Lynn Boyte.

“We’re running into a lot of computer crime in this area, andpeople really need to be careful about giving out personalinformation,” Boyte said.

Hewitt allegedly hacked into the computer system atCopiah-Lincoln Community College, shut down the system and obtainedinformation belonging to the Internet service provider.

He also committed credit card fraud in numerous Internettransactions, according to a press release from the attorneygeneral’s office.

“He was using people’s information to order stuff in their nameand have it sent to him,” Boyte said.

Hewitt was sentenced to a term of five years per count incustody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with terms torun concurrently. He must serve 18 months, with 42 months suspendedunder a term of supervised probation.

Hewitt was ordered to pay court costs, statutory fees, a $500fine and $3,617 in restitution.

The Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit collaborated withLincoln County Sheriff’s Investigator Steve Rushing in a jointinvestigation to discover how the information was being stolenafter Hewitt voluntarily forfeited title to his computer equipmentand software.

“Steve Rushing did a great job on this. He has a degree incomputers and has the ability to go into any computer and findinformation,” Boyte said.

Moore stated that his office is eager to assist in theinvestigation and prosecution of such computer related crimes.

“Unless action is taken, cyber crime will permeate our society,”he said.

Boyte added that his department has also been investigating anunrelated Internet child pornography operation in LincolnCounty.

He warns parents about the importance of knowing theirchildren’s whereabouts and to be cautious about giving out personalinformation.