Teen Pleads Guilty in DraftKings Data Breach Case

Wisconsin teen pleaded guilty to hacking DraftKings’ fantasy sports website using stolen user login credentials to steal about $600,000 in November 2022.

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2023 1:30 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

A teenager responsible for hacking one of America’s largest fantasy sports operators is taking responsibility for his actions.

Joseph Garrison has pleaded guilty in New York federal court to conspiracy charges after he spearheaded a scheme to illegally obtain the account information of roughly 1,600 DraftKings customers, according to CNBC. Garrison, along with a group of co-conspirators, hacked DraftKings’ fantasy sports website using stolen user login credentials to steal about $600,000.

The 19-year-old, who allegedly committed the crime in November 2022, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and faces up to five years in prison. Garrison — a Wisconsin native — had his home searched by federal authorities earlier this year in which they found computer files containing more than 35 million customer username and password pairs.

Garrison, who is free on a $100,000 bond, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 16, 2024.

The hack by Garrison was met with a swift response by DraftKings.

Last November, the Boston-based fantasy and sports betting giant notified customers of account issues after complaints of funds being withdrawn without consent. The hack came as DraftKings prepared to launch sports betting operations in Maryland, Ohio, and Massachusetts. As a result, shares of the company dropped by 9%. On Nov. 15, shares were up by 4.3%

Widespread issue

DraftKings isn’t the only U.S. sportsbook dealing with the ramifications of a data breach.

In December 2022, BetMGM disclosed to customers that some of their records “were obtained in an unauthorized manner,” according to a press release. FanDuel — the largest sportsbook in America in terms of market share at 47% — was also the target of an attack in 2022. The breach impacted an unknown number of customers. FanDuel has also had issues with its sportsbook and casino operations in Canada where it "experienced a technical incident.” 

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