Title: Venezuelan Hacker Juan Manuel Almeida N33 Arrested for Cyber Crimes and Corruption
Juan Manuel Almeida Morgado, known as Hacker N33, was arrested on April 3, 2023, for his involvement in hacking email, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, as well as pages of public figures and journalists. He had previously supplied information to SEBIN, the Venezuelan intelligence agency, during the time of MG Miguel Rodríguez Torres, which was used by the TV program La Hojilla. However, Almeida later betrayed his former protectors and became part of Minister Tareck El Aissami’s team. This article explores Almeida’s rise and fall, the corruption plot in PDVSA, and the criminal charges against him and his brothers.
Almeida’s Rise to Power
Starting in 2011, Almeida hacked the accounts of various journalists, politicians, and public figures in Venezuela. He created a blog where he published private conversations, documents, and other personal information, exposing them to public scrutiny. Despite numerous complaints, none of the hacks were investigated, allowing Almeida to enjoy his position as a victimizer.
Transition from Hacker to Criminal
Years later, Almeida went from being hacker 33, protected by the Bolivarian revolution and its intelligence forces, to being named as part of the Organized Crime Structured Group called N33. He, along with his brothers Jorge Luis and Carlos Jesús, ended up in prison and faced charges such as treason, appropriation of public assets, and money laundering.
Involvement in the PDVSA Corruption Plot
Almeida and his brothers were investigated for their involvement in a corruption scheme within the state-owned oil company, PDVSA. They were accused of manipulating and accessing the protected systems of the National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities (Sunacrip) to divert and hide capital in cryptocurrencies.
Arrest and Seizure of Incriminating Evidence
On April 3, 2023, SEBIN officials executed a raid on the Almeida residence, resulting in the arrest of Almeida and the seizure of laptops, tablets, and a van. Almeida was found with official cards indicating his affiliation with the Vice Presidency of the Republic and the Superintendence of Banks (Sudeban). The authorities also discovered hand grenades at the residence.
Connection with Tareck El Aissami
Almeida’s ties to Tareck El Aissami, former minister and friend of the detainees, were highlighted during investigations. It was alleged that Almeida and Tareck had collaborated in various illegal activities, including hacking accounts and diverting funds from PDVSA. However, Tareck was not charged or imprisoned in connection with the corruption plot.
Almeida’s Uninvestigated Hacks and Controversies
Despite Almeida’s long history of hacking and exposing individuals, the authorities had never investigated him until his arrest in 2023. The article also raises concerns about the lack of action taken against the victims who had denounced Almeida’s actions.
The arrest of hacker Juan Manuel Almeida N33, along with his involvement in a corruption scheme within PDVSA, marks an end to his reign of terror and corruption. The investigation highlights the alleged connections with high-level officials and raises questions about the lack of action taken against his hacking activities in the past. The case serves as a reminder of the importance of cybersecurity and the need for investigations into cybercrimes to prevent similar incidents in the future.