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University worker accused of extorting student file sharers

Security analyst at University of Georgia tasked with catching copyright violators allegedly uses his position to shakedown students.

Culture

If you thought the Recording Industry Association of America was hard on illegal file sharing, consider Dorin Dehelean.

Dehelean, an Internet security analyst, was in charge of tracking illegal file sharing at the University of Georgia until he tried to shake down the student downloaders he caught.

Last week, police arrested the 37-year-old Dehelean on a felony extortion charge, according to a report published by the Web site of the Athens Banner-Herald. Police allege that Dehelean contacted a female student two weeks ago to tell her that he'd caught her violating school policy by illegally downloading copyright materials.

He also told her he could make the "situation go away in exchange for money," Jimmy Williamson, chief of campus police at the university, told the Banner-Herald. "All he was doing was (offering) to keep the information from going to Judicial Programs."

The student, who apparently could have faced disciplinary action for the downloading, told Dehelean that she didn't have the money and then informed a school official about the conversation. The police were contacted and they sent a plainclothes officer to meet with Dehelean posing as the student. After Dehelean accepted a payment of an undisclosed amount, he was arrested and the school immediately fired him.

Police believe Dehelean tried to extort other students and may have been paid off by at least one student. No word yet on whether the female student was disciplined for the downloading.

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