US Navy Couple Charged With Selling 9,000 Stolen Identities for Bitcoin

Prosecutors allege the couple intended for the stolen personal information to be used in crime.

AccessTimeIconFeb 3, 2021 at 9:18 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 11:05 a.m. UTC

A California couple has been indicted over allegations they used their military status to steal the personal information of more than 9,000 people.

According to a report from NBC Los Angeles on Wednesday, Natasha Chalk and her husband Marquis Hooper used their positions in the U.S. Navy to access, then sell, the compromised identities for a total of around $160,000 in bitcoin.

Prosecutors allege the couple intended for the stolen personal information to be used in crime related to identity theft.

Hooper, who was stationed in Japan at the time, was a chief petty officer with the Navy's Seventh Fleet, while Chalk was a naval reservist stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California.

Last week, the couple were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

In August 2018, Hooper got in touch with a company storing millions of people's personal information and claimed to be conducting background checks on behalf of the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet.

However, it is alleged Hooper gave his wife and others, who were not named, access to the database account. Over the course of two and half months, the couple ran searches on thousands of people.

The illegally obtained personal data ultimately ended up being used in identity theft by the recipients, according to the indictments.

The couple's lawyer, Michael McKneely, argued the pair utilized "commercially available databases" used by everyday people and also added the action by the couple was "clearly part of the scope of their work."

Prosecutors cite the case of an Arizona man who tried to withdraw money from a bank account using a fake driver's license that Hooper had allegedly found in the database.

Chalk was detained on Monday, while Hooper was arrested on Tuesday. The pair face a maximum of 20 years in prison, according to the report.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.