US federal judge dismisses wire fraud charges against former Uber security chief over hacking cover-up
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US federal judge dismisses wire fraud charges against former Uber security chief over hacking cover-up

A US federal judge has granted a request by prosecutors to dismiss wire fraud charges against former Uber Chief Security Officer Joseph Sullivan. Judge James Donato signed the dismissal, and the case is in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.

A federal grand jury charged Sullivan for his alleged involvement in a scheme to cover up a 2016 hack that exposed the personal information of 57 million drivers and passengers. Uber terminated Sullivan’s employment in 2017 after learning about the extent of the data breach.

The charges against Sullivan included obstruction of proceedings, misprision of felony (failing to report a felony), and three counts of wire fraud. The indictment alleges that Sullivan endeavored to and/or did obstruct the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) investigation of the hack and failed to report his knowledge of the hack to US authorities. The wire fraud charges stemmed from the US Department of Justice’s claims that Sullivan arranged to pay two hackers for their silence while trying to conceal the hacking from the affected users, drivers and the FTC.

In June, US District Judge William Orrick denied Sullivan’s motion to dismiss the counts of wire fraud and ruled that he had to face the charges.

On July 27, prosecutors requested the court to dismiss the wire fraud charges against Sullivan. Donato signed the request on Tuesday, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48(a). However, the charges of obstruction of proceedings and misprision of felony remain against Sullivan, for which he faces up to eight years in prison and USD 500,000 in fines.