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L.A. man sentenced to federal prison in phishing and pot-growing cases

June 27, 2011 |  6:09 pm

A Los Angeles man was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison for helping lead an international "phishing" ring and overseeing a marijuana-growing operation that was showcased on YouTube, authorities said Monday.

Kenneth Joseph Lucas II, 27, was sentenced Monday in the case involving the growing operation at his Baldwin Hills home, the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles said.

Lucas posted videos on YouTube featuring en elaborate system that included fans, indoor lights and ventilation equipment, according to federal prosecutors. Authorities found 100 plants at the home in October 2009.

Lucas was sentenced Friday in the phishing case in which he was accused of being a "key and active" member of an international hacking operation that led to charges against 100 people -- the largest in a cybercrime case, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Lucas pleaded guilty to 49 counts of bank and wire fraud.

The hackers stole bank account and other personal information from victims in California, Nevada, North Carolina, Maryland and Egypt, federal authorities said.

Victims were sent official-looking emails that asked them to enter information on bogus websites, which allowed hackers to access bank accounts and steal money. The victims' total financial loss was more than $1 million, federal officials said.

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— Robert J. Lopez

Twitter: @LAJourno

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