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Basketball legend claims he is the victim of Internet crime

NBA star Shaquille O'Neal alleges a computer expert he hired stole his personal e-mails and sold them to an Internet website.

O'Neal is suing the information technology specialist for the alleged Internet crime. He is seeking an injunction against him and damages for invading his privacy, stealing his personal information and disclosing private information about him.

O'Neal also claims the computer expert is a convicted felon who failed to disclose his criminal record. The man had been convicted of bank fraud in Wisconsin.

In 2007 O'Neal hired the man, who owned an information technology business, to install sound systems and a computer network in his home. According to court documents, O'Neal gave the man the passwords for his e-mail accounts so the man could set up the computer network. O'Neal claims the computer expert encouraged him to set up a server and store his e-mails on an Internet domain. But the man allegedly set up the server on his own server and used that connection to access all of O'Neal's information.

The man is accused of selling O'Neal's personal e-mails to third parties who then used that information to damage O'Neal's reputation and image. The man allegedly also sold personal communications to another individual as well.

In August of 2010, the man threatened to reveal additional personal e-mails if O'Neal did not pay him $12 million. When O'Neal refused, the man filed a lawsuit against O'Neal. If the man is convicted he could be spending some time in prison. Criminal charges are serious, whether for internet crimes or something else, and can lead to a number of consequences.

Source: Courthouse News Service: "Shaq Says Computer Tech Hacked Him," Marimer Matos, Nov. 2, 2011

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