Champion woman sentenced for Cyberstalking

News

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Department of Justice) —Theresa Louise Harris, 56, of Champion, Michigan, was sentenced to serve 24 months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for cyberstalking numerous victims in and around Marquette, Michigan. Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker also imposed a two-year period of supervised release and a $10,000 fine.

From 2014 through August 2018, Harris continued a stream of harassment towards a former boyfriend and his family and friends consisting of thousands of unwanted contacts through spoofed phone calls, text messages, multiple fake Facebook accounts as well as many unsigned cards, letters, and notes sent to the victim. Harris aided her harassment by hacking into multiple cell phone accounts and by creating fake social media accounts in the names of the victims and others. She collected personal information on the victims, including their social security numbers, dates of birth, and banking information.

At sentencing, Harris apologized to the victim and his family and friends and acknowledged the harm that she had inflicted. Judge Jonker denied Harris’s request for leniency and observed that the persistent and pervasive conduct did not support a lesser sentence. As part of the sentence, Judge Jonker also ordered a mental health assessment and treatment for Harris.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge noted that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “Cyberstalking is another form of mental and emotional abuse. The trauma inflicted can outlast physical scars. My office is dedicated to protecting victims of domestic abuse, whether it manifests as physical assault or cyberstalking.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maarten Vermaat and Daniel Y. Mekaru.

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