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Accused Capital One hacker indicted on wire, computer fraud charges

SEATTLE -- A former Amazon software engineer accused of a massive data breach at Capital One and other organizations has been indicted on two charges by a federal grand jury.

Paige Thompson, 33, of Seattle, was arrested in July after allegedly obtaining information from more than 100 million Capital One credit applications. The Justice Department said Wednesday that she was indicted on charges of wire fraud and computer fraud in connection with the breach, which included over 30 other companies and organizations.

According to court documents, those other organizations that Thompson is accused of hacking included a telecommunications company, a university and a state agency outside of Washington. They were not named specifically in the indictment.

Thompson is also accused in the indictment of "cryptojacking," or using the hacked servers to mine digital currency.

She is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Sept. 5 and could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.  She was previously charged with a single count of computer fraud.

During a hearing last week, a judge ordered Thompson to remain in custody pending trial because she is a flight risk and poses a physical danger to herself and others.

Attorneys for Thompson, who is a transgender woman, argued for her release, saying that she could be released to a halfway house where she would have better access to mental health care. Citing a doctor, they said her safety is at risk in the male facility.

Capital One said among the information obtained by Thompson was 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers. Prosecutors say there is no evidence that Thompson sold or used the stolen data but the damage is still massive.

The breach was among the largest on record involving a major U.S. financial institution. Thompson had talked about the hack online in chat groups, authorities say.

At least 40 lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. against Capital One following the breach, saying it failed to protect consumers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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