Ex­tor­tion­ist tar­gets lo­cal re­al­tor

Threat­en­ing emails to re­al­tor Pa­trick Rocca de­mand $250,000

Bayview Post - - News - — Samantha Peksa

Lea­side res­i­dent and re­al­tor Pa­trick Rocca said he has re­ceived mul­ti­ple emails threat­en­ing to ruin his rep­u­ta­tion and that of his fam­ily, un­less he hands over $250,000. The per­son re­spon­si­ble claims to be­long to the international hacker group Anony­mous.

Rocca said he has re­ceived five emails since Oct. 4, with the most re­cent sent Nov. 13.

“The gist of it was: the per­son doesn’t like me, they’re tired of my cow­boy at­ti­tude and my ads all over the area, they’ve cre­ated a web­site, and if I don’t pay them X amount of dol­lars they’re go­ing to ruin my ca­reer and send out fly­ers,” said Rocca.

Rocca said they asked for US$250,000 by bitcoin (a way of trans­fer­ring international cur­rency anony­mously).

“This was not a scam. This was clearly a threat be­cause it was per­sonal. They men­tioned my wife, my daugh­ter and my son by name,” he said.

Three web­sites meant to be­smirch Rocca and his son, who is cur­rently at­tend­ing univer­sity, have al­ready been cre­ated, and Toronto Po­lice Ser­vice (TPS) is in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

“The first [web­site] ba­si­cally said I was a crook and a thief, and I was a co­caine ad­dict. It was drivel.… It was all fab­ri­ca­tion. There was no sub­stance,” he said.

Con­sta­ble Jenif­fer­jit Sidhu, spokesper­son for TPS, said the TPS’s In­tel­li­gence Divi­sion, Tech-Crime Sec­tion has been suc­cess­ful in tak­ing one of the web­sites down but has not been able to iden­tify the in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­ble.

“It is dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine who or where [the web­sites] orig­i­nate from when it comes to In­ter­net crime of this na­ture,” said Sidhu.

Given the level of de­tail and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in­cluded in the emails, Rocca be­lieves the per­son is a mem­ber of the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“It’s ob­vi­ous the con­nec­tion is Lea­side.… There’s no doubt. There’s bla­tant hints in a lot of emails that it’s a lo­cal in­di­vid­ual,” he said.

Rocca said the per­son re­spon­si­ble also made claims that he or she had hacked into his data­base through his agency’s web­site. Al­though a se­cu­rity scan de­ter­mined that was not the case, Rocca sent out thou­sands of emails to ev­ery­one on his data­base through Bosley Real Es­tate Ltd., Bro­ker­age, alert­ing them to the sit­u­a­tion.

“When you bring the fam­ily into it, that crosses a line. This is crim­i­nal, it’s ha­rass­ment, it’s ex­tor­tion. And this in­di­vid­ual, when and if they’re caught, will go to jail,” he said.

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