[UPDATED with Charges:] Trevor Harwell, Computer Tech, Accused of Using Spyware to Get Images of Naked Female Customers
The Fullerton resident has been slapped with 12 felony counts of computer access and fraud with sentencing enhancement allegations for committing a crime for sexual gratification.
Conviction could bring a prison sentence of six years and four months. Out of custody on $50,000 bail, Harwell is scheduled to be arraigned July 21 in Santa Ana.
The Fullerton Police Department, which conducted the investigation and made the arrest, previously reported that Harwell worked at Rezitech Inc. of Brea and was believed to be a former Biola University student. But an OCDA arraignment statement claims Harwell is still a computer science major at the private Christian institution in La Mirada. He is accused of meeting six victims through friends and his church and gaining access to their computers under the pretense of providing computer technical services. According to the statement:
Harwell is accused of illegally accessing the six victims' computers to install "CamCapture" software, which enabled him to record live and still images from a remote computer. Harwell is accused of setting up alerts to notify him to begin recording when a victim was using her computer. He is accused of recording videos and photographs of each of his victims in various states of undress without their knowledge for his sexual gratification.
Two of the victims, who were sisters, observed that the computer camera was irregularly blinking and took it to be repaired. They were advised that the blinking was due to the installation of CamCapture. The sisters reported the fraudulently installed spyware to the Fullerton Police Department, who investigated this case and identified four additional victims.
The newly-launched Orange County Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory examined digital evidence gathered by investigators, according to the OCDA, which adds the probe is ongoing. Anyone with information or who believes they may have been a victim should contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Anthony Sosnowski at 714.347.8814.
Trevor Harwell, 20, a technician who specialized in Macintosh computers for Rezitech Inc., faces 12 felony counts of computer access and fraud. He's been released from custody on $50,000 bond.
The plot Harwell has been accused of started to unravel last summer, when a woman contacted Fullerton police about strange Internet messages her daughter was receiving. One that appeared to be a system alert stated, "You should fix your internal sensor soon. If unsure what to do, try putting your laptop near hot steam for several minutes to clean the sensor."
What these females did not know was Camcapture spyware had secretly been installed to their computer hard drives, allowing their built-in cameras to be controlled remotely. Police accuse Harwell of having stored images of women naked or undressing on a remote server before downloading them to his own computer.
Harwell serviced computers in Orange and Los Angeles counties, according to Fullerton police, who claim they have identified several female victims from still, video and cellphone images that were in the suspect's possession.
A former student at Biola University in La Mirada, Harwell likely victimized other undergrads there, according to police, who asks anyone who believes they may have been stung to contact Det. Kathryn Hamel at 714.738.5327.