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Insider-Trading Suspects Smash Hard Drive Evidence

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-forgot-to-melt-it-down dept.

Crime 364

An anonymous reader writes "We all know Slashdotters love debating the best way to wipe a hard drive clean. Looks like tech-savvy Wall Street Hedge Fund managers also know the best way to do it. From the WSJ article: 'Mr. Longueuil's version of that night's events was recorded later, during a December meeting with former colleague Mr. Freeman, who by then was cooperating with the government and recording conversations, according to the U.S. complaint. "F—in' pulled the external drives apart," Mr. Longueuil told Mr. Freeman during their meeting, according to the criminal complaint. "Put 'em into four separate little baggies, and then at 2 a.m. 2 a.m. on a Friday night, I put this stuff inside my black North Face jacket, and leave the apartment and I go on like a twenty block walk around the city and try to find a, a garbage truck and threw the s—t in the back of like random garbage trucks, different garbage trucks four different garbage trucks."'"

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Hmm... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163872)

Perhaps we shouldn't be whining about tech-clueless management after all... This seems like a much worse alternative. On the plus side, he probably didn't even think about the mailserver backups...

Re:Hmm... (3, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164002)

He probably did. They nuked things like their Crackberry messaging traffic amongst other things at his insistence.

Re:Hmm... (3, Insightful)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164094)

If you don't see the body it's not dead. It's physically possible to search the dump and find those drives. The compressor in the truck isn't strong enough to destroy the drive so it should still be readable. It would be very labour intensive but in the current (US) economy that isn't an issue.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Sorthum (123064) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164182)

Depends on whether they actually cracked the drives open and pulled the platters. The article is unfortunately ambiguous on this point; it just refers to them "tearing apart external drives" which may well be them simply pulling the drive from its enclosure.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164414)

As they were thumb drives (according to NPR), there were no platters involved. In fact, they used pliers to do the deed.

Yes, there were some obstruction charges against them.

Re:Hmm... (3, Informative)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164422)

Depends on whether they actually cracked the drives open and pulled the platters. The article is unfortunately ambiguous on this point; it just refers to them "tearing apart external drives" which may well be them simply pulling the drive from its enclosure.

The article is not ambiguous. Skip to the bottom to see a section of the US attorney's complaint.

Freeman then remarked, "I don't see how you get rid of this shit," to which LONGUEIL explained, "Oh, it's easy. You take two pairs of pliers, and then you rip it open . . . and then, it's just a piece of NAND."

More...

"Fuckin' pulled the external drives apart. Destroyed the platter..."

That's pretty unambiguous.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164438)

Doesn't it go through a garbage processing plant where they have strong magnets that pull the metals from the garbage stream for processing?

Re:Hmm... (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164468)

He ripped the drive apart. He then divided up the parts into 4 bags. Then he tossed them into 4 differnet places on the assumption that different wast companies would take them to different places.

He also talks about opening usb drives and smashing the NAND chips, destoying e-mail on his blackbery, shredding documents, etc.

While not the smartest, he is not the dumbest either.

Re:Hmm... (1)

cwAllenPoole (1228672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164214)

Seriously? With 32,600 (http://www.observer.com/2008/wasted-new-york-citys-giant-garbage-problem) tons of garbage being generated per day, even if we assume 8 pounds of garbage sorted each man hour, that makes it 8.15 million man hours *per day*. That means with 1 million people you might be able to get to those drives in what, a couple of years? Maybe?

Re:Hmm... (4, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164288)

Seriously? With 32,600 (http://www.observer.com/2008/wasted-new-york-citys-giant-garbage-problem) tons of garbage being generated per day, even if we assume 8 pounds of garbage sorted each man hour, that makes it 8.15 million man hours *per day*. That means with 1 million people you might be able to get to those drives in what, a couple of years? Maybe?

Simple, we get a big-ass magnet, like one of those they use to pick up cars, spread the garbage out and run the magnet over it. The drives will be picked up by the magnet (along with other metal objects) where they should be much easier to pick out. As a bonus, we can recycle the extra metals.

(Yes, this is a joke. Please don't bother replying telling me the giant hole in my plan)

Re:Hmm... (1)

euyis (1521257) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164388)

Damn, can't resist the urge.

Your plan has a hole: is it really that easy to tell the difference between compressed hard drive and other metal scraps?

Re:Hmm... (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164454)

(Yes, this is a joke. Please don't bother replying telling me the giant hole in my plan)

Awww, why'd you do that? Reading the serious responses to posts like yours is half the fun of /.!

Re:Hmm... (1)

crakbone (860662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164296)

you only need to search the trash that the trucks have a route in a 30 block radius from where he grabbed the drives, you can even cross match that to the time 2am. and the barge number to the land fill. that would greatly reduce the search area.

Re:Hmm... (2)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164344)

Not quite correct...
First they'd know roughly what dump trucks were in the area when the said he dismantled the drives.
All the trucks have a specific area of the dump (changes daily) to unload.
So you've narrowed down that 32.6k tons down to a few tens of square yards of rubbish to sift through.
taking your "couple of years" down to a few days or weeks...

Re:Hmm... (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164474)

That is a bit worse than that. If the police already suspected them, they could simply follow the suspect, wait for him to dump the driver at the truk, stop the truck, get the disks without any trouble on getting search arrants or any such thing.

People think hard about how to destroy data on a disk for a reason.

Re:Hmm... (1)

moortak (1273582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164412)

8 pounds of garbage per man hour is a wildly low estimate. Hard drives aren't small and are rather noticeable. They can also narrow their search space by knowing which trucks were in the area at that time.

Destruction of evidence (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163874)

I have heard of people getting hit with destruction of evidence charges for engaging in this sort of behavior...

Re:Destruction of evidence (5, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163966)

Yep. To quote the article: "When people frantically begin shredding sensitive documents and deleting computer files and smashing flash drives and chasing garbage trucks at 2 a.m. ... it is not because they have been operating legitimately," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Ahhh the old "if you are innocent, then you shouldn't have a right to privacy" argument.
Obviously I disagree.
I'd destroy my hard drive too if I got word the government was coming. They don't need to know that I donated to wikileaks and other projects.

Re:Destruction of evidence (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164028)

I'd destroy my hard drive too if I got word the government was coming. They don't need to know that I donated to wikileaks and other projects.

Truly sir your tinfoil is 20 mil [amazon.com] .

I don't think the feds care much either about donation to Wikileaks or your desire to use your kitteh to login to your computer [kickstarter.com] .

Re:Destruction of evidence (0)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164178)

>>>Truly sir your tinfoil is 20 mil.

I don't how you can say that given the events happening in Egypt. Or do you think, for some odd reason, that it can't happen in the US? (tons of example deleted)

Never mind. It wouldn't make any difference, because some people refuse to believe the US is guilty of human rights violations (including extermination camps during the 1940s). No point wasting my breath.

Re:Destruction of evidence (-1, Flamebait)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164268)

Nah, give us the examples. We like listening to your paranoid libertarian-esque prattle. Show us the stuff, man. Go ahead, waste the breath. We want to hear about your extermination camps. Got any more juicy stuff?

Re:Destruction of evidence (2)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164270)

We had Concentration camps during WWII, but I'd be interested in seeing the sources for Extermination camps during that period.

Re:Destruction of evidence (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164404)

And you fail to realize that Western culture is more individualistic than Eastern culture which tends to be much more dogmatic and collectivist. America has come a long way and we'll continue to better ourselves by getting rid of the vestigial traits of our Eastern origins. It's a gradual and slow process but you mistakenly think that the advances of society are black and white; that America is supposed to be 100% flawless. And as if we are doomed to failure because we haven't achieved 100% in only 200 years. We're still flawed, but with each passing decade, with each passing generation, we take many steps forward towards our ideals and principles. Yes, sometimes we take a handful of steps backwards too. But the ultimate goal is progress for civilization and even reaching 90% of what we value as a human species won't come today or tomorrow, but many generations from now. Yet in comparison to many Eastern cultures, we do have a significant head-start.

So don't be so quick to judge a horse who is hundreds of miles from her new destinations, when the other horses are still struggling to leave the derelict barn.

Re:Destruction of evidence (1, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164420)

Never mind. It wouldn't make any difference, because some people refuse to believe the US is guilty of human rights violations (including extermination camps during the 1940s). No point wasting my breath.

Wow! Just wow! They were called Internment Camps, not Extermination Camps. And while it was bad that we forced Japanese Americans into these camps, please do not try to compare them to what Nazi Germany was doing during that same time period. These families were given homes, allowed to move about freely within the camp, they were fed well, their kids went to school, they had activities and entertainment, and were released when it was all said and done.

Again, I'm not saying it was a good thing, but let's not get carried away and call them Extermination camps.

Wow!

Re:Destruction of evidence (2)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164060)

If they can reasonably believe that an investigation is coming, it is still considered destruction of evidence.

On the other hand, if the warrant is for information about insider trading, your wikileaks project info has a small amount of protection. ... until prosecutors find an excuse to hang a second warrant on.

Re:Destruction of evidence (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164078)

I just break up old hard disks at desk during work hours.

Then it's a job related activity and nothing nefarious about it.

"Not hiding anything Special Agent, just mechanically destroying hard disks per our confidentiality protocols. These glass platters explode nicely when hit with a hammer."

Re:Destruction of evidence (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164080)

I'd destroy my hard drive too if I got word the government was coming.They don't need to know that I donated to wikileaks and other projects.

Unfortunately, if you do that you've switched from having done something politically unpopular to committing a clear crime which they can easily convict you. Destroying evidence is very rarely a good move.

Re:Destruction of evidence (-1, Flamebait)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164248)

>>>Destroying evidence is very rarely a good move.

And I suppose the Jews who obtained machine guns and fought back were just wasting their time, too. Oh wait.... no because they would have been dead anyway (by gassing). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zydowska_Organizacja_Bojowa [wikipedia.org]

  It's NEVER a bad move to fight government, especially for warrantless unconstitutional searches. I'm fortunate to be free, but had I been a black or jew or some other unwanted race, I'd have killed as many politicians as I could before they killed me. I'm going to die anyway; might as well die for a good cause - shooting Enslaving Tyrants in the head.

Re:Destruction of evidence (2)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164348)

no no. destroying his hard drive is one thing.

Talking about it. at all. with anyone.
That's the stupid bit.

never confess to anything. ever. to anyone.
Without that all they have is lack of information.

Re:Destruction of evidence (1)

hldn (1085833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164472)

Destroying evidence is very rarely a good move.

unless the evidence would be used to convict you of a far greater crime, in which case destroying evidence seems like a rather great idea.

Re:Destruction of evidence (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164320)

Yep. To quote the article: "When people frantically begin shredding sensitive documents and deleting computer files and smashing flash drives and chasing garbage trucks at 2 a.m. ... it is not because they have been operating legitimately," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Ahhh the old "if you are innocent, then you shouldn't have a right to privacy" argument.
Obviously I disagree.
I'd destroy my hard drive too if I got word the government was coming. They don't need to know that I donated to wikileaks and other projects.

Well, they would probably be REALLY suspicious of what we do out at my place. My shooting range is littered with hard drives that have been blown to bits by various firearms. Laptop drives, 3.5" desktop drives, old 5" RLL & MFM drives. I even have some old 12" disk packs out there from a previous employer that told me to "get rid of" the old things.

Re:Destruction of evidence (0)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163992)

He just was afraid the feds would find his child porn collection... So nothing nefarious here at all.

Re:Destruction of evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164010)

Can't be destruction of evidence if it isn't evidence yet.

Re:Destruction of evidence (3, Informative)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164128)

It was evidence the minute it was used to help commit a crime, whether anyone else knew it existed or not.

Re:Destruction of evidence (2)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164382)

>>>used to help commit a crime

Prove a crime was committed. (Note that you can't because there's no evidence to review.)

Re:Destruction of evidence (2)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164074)

Obviously. Obstruction of justice, or whatever, can lead to jail time. But jail time is a far better alternative to having the millions you stole taken back. If they can't prove he stole it, he gets to keep it.

Re:Destruction of evidence (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164126)

So he stash them in some fund, and then retires to some sunny place once the jail time is over...

Re:Destruction of evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164282)

Together with his new husband, Bubba.

Re:Destruction of evidence (2)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164102)

Yeah but that's because they didn't steal enough (or anything at all) to cover the lawyer costs.

Re:Destruction of evidence (4, Insightful)

skuzzlebutt (177224) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164116)

True, but, were I in their shoes, I'd have to ask myself:

1. Does acting strangely (i.e., throwing my hard drives in random garbage trucks) prove my guilt in the case?

2. If there is evidence on those hard drives that probably would prove my guilt, which is the lesser sentence: obstruction or whatever I'll get charged with if they find smokinggun.jpg on those drives?

Re:Destruction of evidence (1)

Sorthum (123064) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164198)

Exactly. If you've got evidence that you've committed murder on a drive, and you destroy the drive, the penalty for obstruction is orders of magnitude less than the penalty for a successful murder conviction.

Re:Destruction of evidence (1)

sureshot007 (1406703) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164156)

If you are unaware of the investigation, at what point does it become destruction of evidence? Anytime I have a hard drive failure, it's SOP to physically destroy it before throwing it out. What's to say that one of my drives fails, and I do the usual, and then find out later of an investigation - how can I be held accountable for destruction of evidence?

Re:Destruction of evidence (1)

moortak (1273582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164496)

You become responsible when you had a reasonable belief that an investigation was coming. If you destroy it while no one would expect an investigation you aren't guilty of that crime.

Encryption (4, Interesting)

heypete (60671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163882)

Encryption seems a bit more foolproof. It's also a bit more believable that one might "forget" a lengthy passphrase, while physical destruction looks a bit suspicious.

That said, encryption and physical destruction is also useful, as it means that even if someone gets some of the physical components of the disk, it will be even more difficult to get any data off of them.

Re:Encryption (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163906)

Keep in mind that in some places, using encryption to hide evidence of a crime is itself a crime:

http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-152.15 [state.va.us]

Re:Encryption (3, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164056)

So? I'd gladly take a misdemeanor if it meant they had no evidence that a crime was committed.

Another poorly thought-out law written by stupid assholes that don't understand the first fucking thing about computers.

Re:Encryption (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164188)

I imagine that it would be a very strange scenario if you were convicted of that misdemeanor without being convicted of another crime as well. After all, they need to have the evidence in order to show that you encrypted the evidence. It is really just another law that underhandedly increases criminal sentences and adds to the number of charges that accused criminals have to argue against.

Think big (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164316)

If you're not using encryption to protect evidence more incriminating that the mere use of encryption itself, you need to up your game.

Re:Encryption (2)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164062)

But how does one go about and PROVE that the encryption was used to willfully hide evidence? If they can't see the data, how do they know it is evidence of a crime?

Also, what kind of moron would go around talking about how he destroyed evidence to ANYONE? Considering the only way they could secure a good case against you is either video of you destroying the evidence or audio of you talking about it, you shouldn't be talking openly about it.

"Loose lips sink ships"

Re:Encryption (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164114)

Take a look at the police training manual, "Catch him with his encryption down," which is posted somewhere on cryptome. The police have methods of extracting passphrases or tricking people into leaving an encrypted partition mounted; they can then collect the evidence, and charge you with the crime of encrypting it. Actually defending yourself against the police, even if you use encryption, is a substantially difficult thing to do.

Re:Encryption (1)

Sorthum (123064) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164206)

This is very much what I want to know. Destroy your drives, shred your papers, I'm with you this far-- but then ADMITTING to having done it? This isn't like the situation of a thug bragging about a store he robbed for ego points; nobody's going to praise you for operating a shredder, so where's the value in yammering about it?

White collar criminals ARE smarter (3, Interesting)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163890)

So they should continue to receive the lighter sentences. Right? It shouldn't matter that the impact of their crime was the ruination of thousands of lives. Putting these guys in with common thugs is just cruel.

Re:White collar criminals ARE smarter (1)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163908)

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Re:White collar criminals ARE smarter (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164006)

So it's not the rapist's fault, it's... Mother Nature's? God's?

Re:White collar criminals ARE smarter (4, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164224)

at the risk of suffering 5000 degree flamewar posts...

There *IS* some (small) evidence that being a rapist is at least partially genetically based. (rather, a predisposition to being a rapist that is.)

In such cases, I would say the impulse is mother nature's fault. The decision to act, is the purpetrator's.

(Much like mother nature is at fault for our desire to eat sweet things, but our reaching into the cookie jar when we know better is OUR fault.)

Now, that aside-- White collar criminals who destroy thousands of people's lives so they can live in obscene luxury deserve not only to be devested of said luxuries, but to be treated like the criminals they are. That does not mean I advocate prison rape or the like-- even serial killers shouldnt be subjected to cruel and unusual punishments or conditions in the penal system-- it just means that they should be put away and prevented from doing any further harm.

Re:White collar criminals ARE smarter (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164402)

Fraud is a two way street. Physical assault is not.

Re:White collar criminals ARE smarter (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164100)

Why ration hatred? It isn't exactly a terribly limited resource. Seems entirely reasonable to hate the game and(since joining the game is voluntary) all the players.

Re:White collar criminals ARE smarter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164440)

In this case, the players are also the game masters.

Re:White collar criminals ARE smarter (5, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164368)

The distinction (problem) isn't street thug vs. white collar. It's with the victims. With a street thug, there's one victim, one person bearing all of the injury. It's really easy to look at that one person, feel the emotional weight of the injury, and decide the perpetrator needs to be punished.. With white collar crime, the injury is distributed over dozens, hundreds, sometimes millions of victims. So even though the sum total of the injury may be much greater than the sum total of the injury caused by the street thug, there is little to no emotional impact. People still see it as "well, that spam only cost me 5 seconds of my life, so no big deal." So the punishments tend to be much less severe.

Guess what? 5 seconds per spam * 10 spams which get past the filters * 100 million recipients works out to 158 man-years of time lost. The sum total of the injury caused by this spammer is actually greater than killing a person. It's just that the injury is distributed instead of concentrated on one place. The average lost productivity to society is the same.

White dress criminals ARE smarter (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164410)

So they should continue to receive the lighter sentences. Right?

Lindsay Lohan seems to get off with no jail time at all.

How I roll (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35163916)

I'd have made a clean system image via clonezilla when I first got issued my machine, then just swap the incriminating HDD for a clean imaged one.

Re:How I roll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164016)

right, because the feds will believe any story you give them about the X month gap between being issued the machine and the dates on recently created file.

Re:How I roll (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164168)

Don't talk to the feds or police, ever. It can only hurt you. Let them think what they want.

Re:How I roll (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164252)

My workstation at work allows USB bootable media.

A knoppix installation on a USB flash disk would allow clandestine activity at work, without leaving any traces. As long as the use was intermittent, then my workstation would appear to have both been used in that time, AND be clean.

the flash drive is also much easier to destroy secretly, even though it would not have any evidence on it either. (knoppix is read only by default.)

Re:How I roll (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164046)

"Bob, I'm glad SCC investigators didn't find anything nasty or incriminating on your computer. However, it turns out you haven't even turned the damn thing on for two years, so it looks like you've been jacking off in your office for quite some time, so we're letting you go."

Re:How I roll (1)

Sorthum (123064) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164220)

I'll take "getting fired" versus "going to jail" any day of the week.

Unfortunately, it's never quite that simple...

Re:How I roll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164076)

I'd have made a clean system image via clonezilla when I first got issued my machine, then just swap the incriminating HDD for a clean imaged one.

So not only destruction of evidence, but falsification as well.

Be sure to use that decoy disk every now and then. It may be a bit conspicuous that you didn't use your computer since right after it was issued up until just recently.

Re:How I roll (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164292)

You might want to come up with an evidence-destruction plan that doesn't result in your filesystem timestamps showing that your work machine(which anybody from the janitor on up will be able to testify that you use daily) wasn't touched for six months after IT issued it, and then started seeing a burst of use the day after news of fed interest in you came out...

On a modern OS/system software setup of any complexity, generating convincing fake timestamps and system activity is a bit on the nontrivial side. If the investigator has little or no evidence about your computer habits, or circumstantial evidence of what you've done, it isn't too hard; but if they have enough circumstantial evidence to work from, you might face issues.

This would be especially the case in a somewhat paranoid corporate environment(which I would imagine a hedge fund is). Even in my(far less tight-wound) shop, you would probably get a visit from IT to figure out WTF is going on were your machine to suddenly leap back 6 months in patch/AV update status, or (while retaining the same MAC) turn into a linux box or a non-domain windows machine from time to time... In an environment where IT is running scared about corporate espionage, Sarbanes-Oxley, or even just the rigors of dealing with backups of high value files on a mobile workforce of laptops, they would almost certainly be considerably more attentive.

Especially if the company has a strong reason to want to throw you under the bus(large, secretive hedge fund? You. Fucking. Bet. that they want the SEC/Fed investigation to end as soon as possible, ideally with just a couple of disposable peons "acting without authorization", as they say...) they would likely prove quite cooperative in helping to prove that you were hiding something. Particularly if that reduced their odds of having to hand over much larger swaths of their data/backups to investigators.

Re:How I roll (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164322)

Good luck getting your HDD swapped in between the time the cops are busting in your doors and windows and when they pin you to the ground.

White collar... (5, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163934)

Red sleeves.

Re:White collar... (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164008)

What an excellent phrase. I'm going to have to use that from now on.

admission of guilt? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163958)

if they prove deliberate destruction of evidence, doesn't that constitute admission of guilt? or some other loss-by-default?

Re:admission of guilt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164022)

Probably not, at least under US law, because of the Fifth Amendment. All it proves is that the evidence destroyed might have been able to implicate the defendant for something. You can't prove that this "something" was the crime they're actually being tried for, and you can't force the defendant to tell you.

You might be able to do something with things like obstruction of justice or interfering with a police investigation, though.

Re:admission of guilt? (1)

Sorthum (123064) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164232)

That'd definitely not fly in the US. "You destroyed the drive, so it obviously contains evidence of insider trading. And tax evasion. And pictures of you buggering a horse..."

Re:admission of guilt? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164034)

I destroyed evidence that I donated to wikileaks. Does that mean I should be thrown in jail?

Re:admission of guilt? (1)

zn0k (1082797) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164246)

No? Mainly because donating to wikileaks is not a crime, and most certainly not a crime worth jail time? As opposed to insider trading?

Re:admission of guilt? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164486)

So they suspect an actual crime.
They know you destroyed *something*.

The mere fact that you wanted to cover *something* up does not mean you wanted to cover up what they suspect you did.

You could have been covering up something merely socially damaging but not illegal like a conservative republican senator destroying a drive when he fears that it will come out that he's having lots of gay sex and the pictures to prove it were on the drive.

Re:admission of guilt? (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164072)

IANAL; but my understanding is that it doesn't constitute an admission of guilt per se(particularly in these days of high-capacity hard drives, there would be no reasonable way to bound the number of things you could have been guilty of with just one HDD...); but, destruction of evidence and/or "obstruction of justice" are typically crimes in themselves.

If they have a recording of you describing how you ripped apart and surreptitiously disposed of your HDD after you heard that the feds were on your trail, those charges are going to be very hard to dodge...

Merely destroying your hard drive, out of caution or paranoia, and then learning later that the feds would really have liked to have a look through it, is one thing; but if you are caught on tape describing why you destroyed it, game over, man.

Re:admission of guilt? (1)

dsavage (645882) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164134)

Good question... I'm not a lawyer, but I doubt it. It probably falls under circumstantial evidence. It's kind of like ramming a file down the barrel of a gun you just shot someone with. They can't use ballistics to prove it, but they might be able to use hair/fiber/residue something else that you might find on one of the CSI:Hoboken shows... (It seems like they have one for every other city...why _not_ Hoboken?)

More likely than not, it just gives the police reason to fixate on you, (and try and build a better case,) than eliminating other suspects.
-D

Re:admission of guilt? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164202)

My understanding was that unless you are already aware of a warrant when you destroy the evidence, it's not obstruction of justice. Even then, obstructions of justice might be better than what you could get otherwise.

Re:admission of guilt? (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164208)

If they prove destruction of evidence, they prove obstruction of justice. A hard drive can be disposed of in incredibly suspicious circumstances out of the want of thoroughness just as easily as the want of a conspiratorial cover-up.

Re:admission of guilt? (5, Informative)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164342)

if they prove deliberate destruction of evidence, doesn't that constitute admission of guilt? or some other loss-by-default?

No, but it does allow the prosecutor to give the jury instructions that they may make a adverse inference[1] as to the contents of the destroyed relevant evidence from the fact that the defendant knowingly (sometimes even negligently) destroyed it. Essentially, they are telling the jury that they can infer that the evidence would weaken the defendant's case from the fact that he willfully destroyed it.[2] The jury is not required to make such an inference but it may -- as contrasted from the fact that prosecutors are forbidden from trying to make adverse inferences from a refusal to testify based on 5A grounds, such jury instructions would be illegal and the whole conviction overturned.

This is a very onerous instruction and so is reserved for cases in which it was shown that the destruction was knowing or negligent but it's necessary in order for the discovery system to work. In the absence of a adverse inference rule, litigants would have a very strong incentive to preemptively destroy any incriminating evidence as soon as they became aware of an investigation or a lawsuit. In cases against corporations in which internal emails/documents play a pivotal role in proving that the behavior was part of a pattern/policy of the company (and not merely a rogue employee) this would be fatal to the plaintiff/State. The same logic applies in cases against the State[3] where they refuse to disclose evidence that might be favorable to the defendant.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverse_inference [wikipedia.org]
[2] http://vegaslitigator.com/blog/?cat=50 [vegaslitigator.com] (discussing the Nevada statute, not the Federal one, but many parallels and the same basic concepts exist).
[3] http://legalholds.typepad.com/legalholds/2009/04/negligent-destruction-of-evidence-is-sufficient-to-support-an-adverse-inference-instruction-although.html [typepad.com] An interesting case in which police destruction of evidence helps to get defendants off the hook because they allege that the destroyed evidence would undermine the State's case. IOW, the adverse-inference doctrine cuts both for and against the State. The defendants did eventually convince the court that the radio communications were relevant.

Re:admission of guilt? (1)

getSalled (1331585) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164488)

It is an admission of guilt but the problem is you don't know what crime the contents of the drive showed he committed. He _could_ have had 10,000 illegally downloaded mp3s and didn't want to fork over billions to the RIAA.

Moral of the Story (4, Informative)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163996)

So what do we learn kids? Don't talk about the skeezy shit you do to anyone: friend, family, coworker, or other. If you do bad shit, keep it to yourself.

At the small town bars I used to hang out in we had a saying, "Loose lips get hit."

It would appear that the hammer of justice follows a similar rule of thumb.

Re:Moral of the Story (4, Interesting)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164226)

So what do we learn kids? Don't talk about the skeezy shit you do to anyone: friend, family, coworker, or other. If you do bad shit, keep it to yourself.

You've never worked in trading (IT end), have you? These guys are immune from normal laws. At the CBOT in Chicago, there were drug dealers selling coke right outside the front doors. The police were NEVER to be found. And there was a lot of buying, piles of coke spilled on the bathroom floors, etc. Most of the traders were college football players/econ majors. I kid you not. They need to be large and imposing to get seen/push their way around on the trading floor. The company I worked for would burn them out at a rapid pace.

Anyway, this kind of talk was quite common. When you are above the law, who cares, you know? When the worse prison sentence you can get is a 3 month vacation at golf course, who cares?

Re:Moral of the Story (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164244)

It would appear that the hammer of justice follows a similar rule of thumb.

The hammer of justice, eh? Rule of thumb, eh?

Ouch, man.

Fantasy. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35163998)

It would have been very nice if we could conclude, "But the joke was on him because a passing Google streetview truck intercepted, downloaded, cached and indexed the hard disk's data, all dressed up and ready to be data mined by the investigators..." But alas, no such luck.

Why didn't he wait for a full moon? (2)

g01d4 (888748) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164024)

And these guys are supposed to be incredibly brilliant? Good thing he used baggies. Wouldn't want them to get dirty in the trash.

Destruction of Evidence not reciprocal (2)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164052)

Great so he destroyed everything he had, if he's the trader, then someone at the companies he traded in will know the information given to him.

Not only did he not get his own mailservers, he didn't get their mailservers, his accomplices hard drives, the coorperation of his colleague Mr. Freeman or anyone else that is going to turn evidence on him to get their own sentences commuted.

The Prisoners Dilemma in the 21st century: Everyone Encrypts (phones, emails, hard drives) and Nobody Talks. Otherwise somebody is going to have evidence pinned on them, then its just a race to be the first in line to rat the others out.

Why 2 versions of this story? (2)

unitron (5733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164070)

Why are there 2 seemingly identical versions of this story on the main page? This isn't the time-honored Slashdot tradtion of dupes from different editors who didn't check with each other, this is more clone than dupe, and it's been happening a lot every since this horrible new design was rolled out.

Re:Why 2 versions of this story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164364)

Why are there 2 seemingly identical versions of this story on the main page? This isn't the time-honored Slashdot tradtion of dupes from different editors who didn't check with each other, this is more clone than dupe, and it's been happening a lot every since this horrible new design was rolled out.

It's so cute, some people STILL think Slashdot has "editors"...

Nice try, nothing to see here (-1, Troll)

BitHive (578094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164132)

"Insider trading" is just another pejorative concocted by bleeding hearts to denigrate the most productive members of our society.

Re:Nice try, nothing to see here (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164294)

What value are these individuals creating?

-Rick

Re:Nice try, nothing to see here (1)

snkiz (1786676) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164340)

Are you on Crack? Traders are the bottom feeders of society. They produce absolutely nothing of value, destroy companies and ruin lives all for the sake of a quarter point. Never before in history have so many gotten so rich on the backs of others while contributing nothing back to society

criminal mastermind (4, Insightful)

Jodka (520060) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164190)

"...threw the s—t in the back of like random garbage trucks, different garbage trucks four different garbage trucks."

"Mr. Longueuil's version of that night's events was recorded later, during a December meeting with former colleague..."

After thoroughly eradicating all trace of evidence, he then told someone else what he had done. Brilliant.

That doesn't sound real (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164218)

Does anyone else think that the quote sounds like one of those fake quotes you see in mail hoaxes? For instance, why would he say "I put this stuff inside my black North Face jacket", which adds nothing to the story but is something a hoaxer would put in if he saw photos of Longueuil wearing North Face products. Besides, maybe the guy wasn't a Rhodes Scholar, but I have a hard time believing the managing director of a capital management firm speaks like a valley girl.

I'm not saying he's innocent, just that this news item doesn't look right.

Why not use Mafia methods? (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164308)

It's a Sicilian Message: your hard drive sleeps with the fishes. Toss the hard drives into the Atlantic from your yacht. Let the salt water take care of the rest. Or encase them into cement at a construction site. The old, time-tested methods are the best.

"4 different garbage trucks.." (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164346)

..that all end up in the same landfill. I'm sure the feds won't have any problems collecting all the pieces. Also I doubt they dismantled the drives down to the platters and scattered the platters.

Wall St Hedge Funds? (2)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35164386)

"We all know Slashdotters love debating the best way to wipe a hard drive clean. Looks like tech-savvy Wall Street Hedge Fund managers also know the best way to do it. From the WSJ article: 'Mr. Longueuil's version of that night's events was recorded later, during a December meeting with former colleague Mr. Freeman, who by then was cooperating with the government and recording conversations, according to the U.S. complaint. "F—in' pulled the external drives apart," Mr. Longueuil told Mr. Freeman during their meeting, according to the criminal complaint. "Put 'em into four separate little baggies, and then at 2 a.m. 2 a.m. on a Friday night, I put this stuff inside my black North Face jacket, and leave the apartment and I go on like a twenty block walk around the city and try to find a, a garbage truck and threw the s—t in the back of like random garbage trucks, different garbage trucks four different garbage trucks."'"

We usually mean banks or the exchange when we speak about Wall Street. If you need a location-based idiom for Hedge Funds, Greenwich CT works. Or Mayfair if you're in London. And yes, banks are different from Hedge Funds. Don't mix up your villains please.

Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35164462)

Dammit. These are the people who give Republicans a bad name!

If it's not Consolidated Lint it's just fuzz!

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