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United States v. Shahulhameed

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

January 8, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
IBRAHIMSHAH SHAHULHAMEED, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a report and recommendation (DE 144) from Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier. For the following reasons, defendant Shahulhameed's objections (DE 147) are DENIED and the Court follows the recommended disposition (DE 144).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Prior to August 23, 2012, Shahulhameed worked for GlobalSource IT as a contractor in the IT department of Toyota, providing general support to Toyota's IT infrastructure. On the evening of August 23, 2012, Shahulhameed was fired. (DE 131 at 1). During the early hours of August 24, 2012, "Toyota experienced a cyberattack that rendered several of its computer servers inoperable." (DE 131 at 1). Toyota claimed, and it was later corroborated by the FBI and an independent investigator, that the attack came from Shahulhameed's Toyota-owned laptop and username. "Toyota employees spent 2, 133 hours responding to the cyberattack between August 24 and October 30, 2012, " costing the company an estimated $152, 070 to respond. (DE 131 at 6).

         Shahulhameed was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5), by knowingly transmitting and intentionally causing damage without authorization to a protected computer. (DE 1). At trial, a jury convicted Shahulhameed of the sole count. (DE 95). On June 4, 2014, this Court sentenced Shahulhameed to a total prison sentence of 48 months followed by a 3-year term of supervised release. (DE 111). Shahulhameed appealed and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed. (DE 131).

         Shahulhameed timely submitted the current § 2255 petition on August 8, 2016. After receiving arguments from both parties, Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier issued a report and recommendation to this Court. (DE 144). The Magistrate Judge determined that Shahulhameed had failed to show any basis for relief, and recommended this Court reject all claims. Shahulhameed's objections to the Magistrate Judge's findings are reviewed below.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Legal Standards

         For relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, Shahulhameed "must allege as a basis for relief: (1) an error of constitutional magnitude; (2) a sentence imposed outside the statutory limits; or (3) an error of fact or law that was so fundamental as to render the entire proceeding invalid." Pough v. United States, 442 F.3d 959, 964 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting Mallett v. United States, 334 F.3d 491, 496-497 (6th Cir. 2003)). In making a § 2255 motion, a movant generally bears the burden of proving factual assertions by a preponderance of the evidence. See McQueen v. United States, 58 Fed.Appx. 73, 76 (6th Cir. 2003) (per curiam).

         This Court makes a de novo determination of those portions of a recommended disposition to which objections are made. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c). In this case, Shahulhameed has made objections to the Magistrate Judge's finding that this Court had subject-matter jurisdiction over the indicted offence, and that his retained counsel was not ineffective for failing to offer various pieces of evidence. See (DE 133-2). The Court reviews these objections below.

         B. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

         In his original habeas petition, Shahulhameed argues that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), under which he was convicted, does not apply to his conduct. (DE 133-1 at 3). Shahulhameed posits that the Act only applies to hacking, and not employee misappropriation. Id. Shahulhameed's argument is as follows:

If the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action. "Because the CFAA is anti-hacking statute, not an employee misappropriation statute [a]nd because the 18 ยง U.S.C. 1030(g) statute guidelines clarifying clearly no action under this subsection for ...

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