Photo Video
Michael Pullen
Hide Caption

Michael Pullen, Northern Kentucky man, gets five months for social media hacking

Pullen hacked accounts, added conservative crews

a a a a
Share this story

DRY RIDGE, Ky. -- A Northern Kentucky man is heading to federal prison after he hacked into social media accounts to change conservative views he didn’t agree with.

A judge ruled Monday that Michael Pullen, of Dry Ridge, serve five months in prison for hacking into accounts on Sodahead.com, a political website where users ask questions, post breaking news of the day and share opinions on issues.

Investigators said Pullen, a father of two young children, changed posts on several accounts to change conservative opinions – opinions Pullen said he considered un-American.

"This site caters to a fringe group of these folks -- folks who think that the next civil war is just right around the corner and can't wait to shoot them some liberals,” Pullen said. “People who think liberal is a bad word. "

Pullen said he often deleted posts, but also added some thoughts of his own.

“Every once in a while (I would write) something non-sensical, like ‘I like cake’ or ‘I'm fancy.’ ‘Why don't you call me fancy pants?’ Just garbage. Nonsense," he said.

Pullen’s attorneys argued his actions were a joke, but prosecutors said what Pullen did amounted to cyberbullying.

Sodahead founder Jason Feffer said Pullen's actions caused the company to lose membership and suffer a "tarnished brand."

Feffer issued a statement in May that read in part, "Mr. Pullen may consider it a prank to trespass a computer network in order to violate people's free speech and mock their opinions. The courts consider it a crime, and Americans should consider it a chilling, intolerant act of political suppression."

Media attorney Jack Greiner said the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was passed to criminalize unauthorized computer access to things like defense department secrets, but added this case is more of a private matter.

"He went on to SodaHead.com and changed some information on the site as a prank,” Greiner said. “He really didn't take any valuable information."

Pullen was also ordered to pay more than $20,000 in restitution.

"If you do something that's against the law, even if you question the ethics of the law or the rightness of the law, you're going to do time," Pullen said.

Below is a victim statement Feffer submitted to U.S. Attorney Laura Voorhees in Fort Mitchell on May 29, 2013 concerning the incident.

 

 

 
 

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Local News
Public Library to break ground on 3 new branches
Public Library to break ground on 3 new branches

Book lovers will soon have three more places to crack open a good novel.

Court Docket: April 21, 2014
Court Docket: April 21, 2014

A look at those due in court April 21, 2014.

Tri-State briefs: April 21, 2014
Tri-State briefs: April 21, 2014

A wrap-up of local stories happening Monday, April 21, 2014.

Mom faces trial in McDonald's play area overdose
Mom faces trial in McDonald's play area overdose

A woman police say overdosed on heroin with her boyfriend at a McDonald's play area near Cincinnati is facing trial.

Cincinnati traffic: Monday's delays
Cincinnati traffic: Monday's delays

All your Monday morning traffic delays.

Reditorial Cartoon: Reds fans over 1st 3 weeks
Reditorial Cartoon: Reds fans over 1st 3 weeks

The highs, the lows, the "what the hecks?!" of being a Reds fan so far during the 2014 season.

OTR Easter event combats violence with fun
OTR Easter event combats violence with fun

The Over-the-Rhine Community Council hosted an afternoon-long event that combined the food, music and egg hunt of a traditional Easter…

UC student beaten up, robbed at apartment
UC student beaten up, robbed at apartment

Three robbery suspects are on the loose after after a University of Cincinnati student was beaten up inside his own apartment during a brazen…

Local bikeway project topic at Monday meeting
Local bikeway project topic at Monday meeting

A scheduled meeting Monday for City Council’s neighborhoods committee could go a long way toward determining the future of the…

Police: Missing teen may be with Milford man
Police: Missing teen may be with Milford man

Police believe a 28-year-old man from the Milford area may have information about the whereabouts of a missing southwest Ohio teenager.