Purdue doctoral student recognized for stopping identity theft

U.S. Homeland Security Investigations recently recognized Rachel Sitarz, a Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security Ph.D candidate in cyber forensics at Purdue University, for her efforts in support of a nationally coordinated investigation in 2012.

Sitarz is from St. John.

The HSI Executive Associate Director’s Annual Awards Program recognized the Chicago Office for “Outstanding Investigative Accomplishments – Immigration Fraud” in “Operation Island Express.” The investigation targeted a transnational document trafficking organization based in Puerto Rico.

The trafficking organization sold the identities of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens and corresponding Social Security cards and birth certificates to undocumented aliens primarily from Mexico, Dominican Republic and Central America.

Prior to beginning her Ph.D at Purdue, Sitarz worked as a criminal intelligence analyst for the Indiana State Police. While with the ISP, Sitarz’ contributions to the investigation led to the 87 federal/state criminal arrests with 57 convictions, 64 administrative arrests and the interception of more than 1,000 identity documents.

Sitarz is currently studying cyber forensics in the College of Technology at Purdue under Professor Marcus Rogers. She is the recipient of the Department of Homeland Security, Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering fellowship. Her areas of research focus on the psychology of online criminals and deviants, and cloud computing.

While with the ISP, Sitarz was on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. At Purdue, she received her bachelor’s degree in 2007 in law and society and minored in psychology and forensics. She also received her master’s in cyber forensics from Purdue in 2010.

As an undergrad, Sitarz swam on the intercollegiate team and is a four-year letter winner.

Article source: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/st-john/purdue-doctoral-student-recognized-for-stopping-identity-theft/article_a49dc525-afe1-56c6-aae1-b7de7c2548ca.html

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