Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Wednesday, November 15, 2000


Park Place Employee Charged also with Hacking Into Business's Network

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn Internet Bureau today assisted the Dallas Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in the arrest of a former employee of the Park Place auto dealership in Dallas. The case involves the breach of computer security and distribution of child pornography via the Internet to approximately 500 unsuspecting employees at the business, located at 4023 Oak Lawn Ave.

James Stephen Morris, 35, of McKinney has been charged with possession and promotion of child pornography, and breaching computer security, both third-degree felony violations of the Texas Penal Code. A search warrant executed at Morris's residence on Nov. 3 netted 14 computers thought to be instrumental in hacking into Park Place's network. The raid resulted in the largest residential seizure of evidence conducted by the Internet Bureau so far.

"A crime of this magnitude took a great deal of premeditation, including the suspect's alleged online impersonation of a high-level Park Place business manager," said Attorney General Cornyn. "The quick action against this crime, aided by the Internet Bureau's strong working relationship with the Dallas task force, demonstrates the commitment we have in working with local law enforcement agencies to put a halt to this kind of activity over the Internet."

The charges allege that on Oct. 19 Morris illegally accessed the company's computer network from his residence by logging into the system using an account and password belonging to the Park Place manager. Next, the suspect allegedly sent three emails using the assumed identification of the manager. One of the emails, sent to more than 500 employees, contained four file attachments, which, when opened, depicted child pornography.

The North Texas Regional Computer Forensics Lab assisted in the residential raid and will be conducting the examination of the digital evidence thought to be instrumental in accessing the company's computer network.

The charges brought against Morris can result in a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050
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