UPR student hacker pleads guilty in cyberstalking case
By The Star Staff
A University of Puerto Rico (UPR) student who hacked dozens of emails and Snapchat accounts belonging to female students has pleaded guilty to cyberstalking, authorities said Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Iván Santell Velázquez pleaded guilty to cyberstalking before United States District Court Judge Silvia Carreño Coll, announced U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico W. Stephen Muldrow.
According to the parties’ stipulation of facts, Santell Velázquez, while a student at UPR-Cayey, sent unauthorized emails to faculty, administration and students under the moniker “Slay3r_r00t”. Santell Velázquez targeted more than 100 student email accounts and successfully broke into multiple university email accounts, collecting personal information through phishing and spoofing schemes.
In addition, between 2019 and 2021, Santell Velázquez hacked into several female students’ Snapchat accounts, some of which contained nude images that he shared with third parties who published the images online.
After Santell Velázquez broke into a victim’s Snapchat account, she began receiving harassing text messages with her intimate pictures. Nude photos stolen from the victim’s Snapchat account were posted on Twitter as well as on a Facebook page.
The plea agreement encompasses 15 female victims of Santell Velázquez’s conduct, as well as UPR.
“This individual engaged in phishing and spoofing schemes to steal information,” Muldrow said. “He harassed numerous women with the nude photos he stole from them, and in some cases, he published them. This case demonstrates the importance of safeguarding personal information and passwords, especially in response to suspicious emails and text messages.”
“Individuals who engage in this type of behavior know what they are doing is wrong and they know they are causing great harm to their victims,” said Joseph González, the special agent in charge of the FBI San Juan Field Office. “What I want everyone to know is that it is not just wrong, it is a federal crime, and one that the FBI won’t tolerate.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanette Collazo is in charge of the prosecution of the case. FBI Special Agent Christian Nieves of the San Juan Cyber Division was in charge of the investigation. Cyberstalking carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12.