Prison inmate, his mother are part of state illegal computer probe

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Troopers raided the Kettering home of an Ohio prison inmate’s mother as part of an investigation into prisoners who used hidden computers to commit identity fraud.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Troopers raided the Kettering home of an Ohio prison inmate’s mother as part of an investigation into prisoners who used hidden computers to commit identity fraud.

Inmate Adam C. Johnston, 35, formerly of Kettering, is serving up to life in prison for aggravated murder and aggravated burglary in the 2000 death of Bobby D. Matthews at a residence in the 6600 block of Homestretch Road in Vandalia. He is now incarcerated at the Lebanon Correctional Institution in Warren County.

While at Marion Correctional Institution, he and inmate Scott Spriggs rebuilt and hid two PCs in the ceiling of a training room closet at the prison. The computers were connected to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction’s computer network and internet, according to a report released Tuesday from the Ohio Inspector General following a nearly two-year investigation into the incident at the medium security prison in Marion County.

After finding the computers in July 2015, then-MCI Warden Jason Bunting and other prison officials did not immediately notify the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Inspector General, as required by state policy.

Johnston and Spriggs both worked to disassemble unwanted computers into basic parts for Cleveland-based nonprofit agency RET3 to recycle as part of the prison’s green initiative program. Inmates did not rebuild or refurbish computers.

Johnston told investigators that Spriggs rebuilt the computers but that he took them from the RET3 area to a training room.

“Johnson admitted that he placed the two computers in the ceiling,” the report stated. “Johnston admitted to investigators that he used the computer to text message  his mother ... Johnston also confirmed to investigators that he downloaded pornography that was found on a thumb drive in the possession of (another inmate).”

Johnston looked over the shoulder of a former MCI employee-turned RET3 contractor to learn a password to access a prison database. There, he selected a young inmate with a lengthy sentence, bypassed security measures and obtained the inmate’s birth date and Social Security number. He applied for five credit and debit cards in the prisoner’s name. He used a mailing address in the 1400 block of Willamet Road in Kettering, which his mother, Karen Galienne, provided in a May 28, 2015, text to his illicit prison computer. “Wow that sounds really close to your house,” Johnston replied.

A review of 17 telephone calls made between April 26 and Aug. 9, 2015, between Johnston and Galienne showed that: “Galienne informed Johnston that she had received a notice from Chase that the credit card ... was declined; Galienne informed Johnston that she had received a Visa debit card ... and read the card number, expiration date and activation code to Johnston,” the report stated.

When the Ohio State Highway Patrol raided Galienne’s home on Nov. 5, 2015, they found a Visa debit card issued by MetaBank issued in the name of the selected prisoner and mailed to the address of Galienne’s neighbor, which was the same address provided to Johnston in the text.

“Galienne admitted to investigators that she had provided the address ... to her son, inmate Johnston, through a text message,” the report stated. When asked why Johnston did not put the debit card in her name, she said, “because he didn’t want to put my name on anything.”

Johnston told investigators the plan was to file false tax returns and to have the money funneled to the debit card.

MetaBank, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, confirmed they received a debit card application on June 21, 2015, from an ODRC internet protocol address, and that the debit card was activated July 16, 2015, also from an ODRC IP address. The applications for credit/debit cards to four other banks were declined, according to the report.

The Ohio Inspector General found that the prison filed to supervise inmates; protect information technology resources; and follow password security policy among other infractions. The findings were forwarded to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ohio Ethics Commission for consideration.

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