Man linked to online group Anonymous pleads guilty to hacking

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A US man linked to the hacker collective Anonymous has reversed course to plead guilty under an agreement with the federal government to charges that he breached police agency websites.

Court documents filed April 15 show John Anthony Borell III has agreed to plead guilty to five charges related to the hacking of law enforcement websites in Utah, California, New York and Missouri.

He would receive three years in prison under the agreement, which needs court approval.

Borell is scheduled to appear before a judge on Aug 21.

A spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Utah declined to comment on the agreement.

Messages left with Borell's attorney were not immediately returned on Tuesday.

Anonymous is a group of loosely organised Internet enthusiasts, pranksters and activists whose targets have included financial institutions such as Visa and MasterCard, the Church of Scientology and law enforcement agencies.

The attacks Borell is pleading guilty to occurred between Sept 2011 and Feb 2012. Borell was arrested in March of that year after he took credit for taking down the websites on his Twitter account.

"Regarding all of these hacks, I knew that what I was doing was illegal," Borell states in court records.

FBI officials have said the hacking gained access to citizen complaints about drugs and other crimes, including phone numbers, addresses and other personal data of informants. It also exposed some personal information on police officers.

Borell had been detained in a halfway house but was granted a court-approved release to live with his girlfriend until his sentencing.

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