KINGSTON TWP. – A Wyoming man is facing charges that he hacked into a secured computer system that affected players’ club cards at Mount Airy Casino Resort in early March.

Leo Hornbaker III, left, leaves District Judge James Tupper’s office with attorney Mark Mack after Thursday’s preliminary hearing related to the hacking into computer servers of Mount Airy Casino was continued.

Leo Harry Hornbaker III, 37, of Bodle Road, a former employee at the Monroe County casino, is accused of using other employees’ user names and passwords to access the casino’s computer from his residence, according to arrest records filed by the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigations Unit.

Police said in arrest records that they found an external hard drive with the private information at Hornbaker’s residence.

“Very few people had access to the system,” state police Cpl. Derek Fozard said on Thursday. “It all depends on how the IT department had it set up. With Mr. Hornbaker being formerly employed there, he was part of the IT department; he did have access to the credentials.”

Hornbaker allegedly accessed the casino’s secured computer system from March 6 to March 12 and changed information that impacted the day-to-day operations of the casino, according to arrest records.

Fozard said the information Hornbaker allegedly changed was from players’ club cards that are placed into slot machines. The club cards, which look like a credit card, store the players’ slot usage for rewards and comps.

Players were unable to access their rewards and comps, and the casino was unable to issue new players’ club cards or track the cards, according to arrest records.

“When (the casino) realized they had a problem, they were jumping through hoops trying to get things back up; doing the best thing they could to get things back up and running immediately,” Fozard said. “That was their number one priority, and they contacted us to assist in the investigation.”

Police executed a search warrant at Hornbaker’s residence on March 16 and allegedly found an external hard drive that had information of Mount Airy employees’ user names and passwords, arrest records say.

Hornbaker allegedly admitted, according to arrest records, that he accessed the casino’s private network using employees’ information.

“Mr. Hornbaker was able to do this because he was at one time employed with (Mount Airy),” Fozard said. “He had information that helped him gain access to it. By accessing this information, the data was saved on the casino’s server.”

Hornbaker was charged with felony counts of disruption of service, computer trespass, criminal use of communication facility and unlawful use of a computer.

A preliminary hearing that was scheduled for Thursday before District Judge James Tupper in Trucksville was continued to a later date because Hornbaker’s attorney, Mark Mack, said he wanted to see if the charges can be reduced to misdemeanors.

Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Alexis Favello was unable to attend Thursday’s hearing.

Courtesy of Times Leader
Written by Edward Lewis