NASA Astronaut Accused Of Identity Theft While In Space

Anne McClain, a NASA astronaut, was accused by her spouse Summer Worden of identity theft and improperly accessing Worden’s financial records. McClain admitted that she accessed Worden’s bank account while in space, however, she said that their finances were still intertwined despite their breakup. In response, Worden filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission as well as NASA’s Office of Inspector General, according to an article from The New York Times.  

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This is the first crime committed in space, according to Mark Sundahl, director of Cleveland State University’s Global Space Law Center. NASA officials also did not know of any previous crimes committed in the space station, although there were previous legal issues sprung from space travel, such as:

  • 2011: NASA performed sting operation for space engineer’s widow who tried to sell a moon rock
  • 2013: A Russian satellite was damaged with debris from a satellite that China had destroyed during a missile test six years prior
  • 2017: A businessman sued a space tourism company to get his deposit back, as the planned trip had made no progress.

As space tourism becomes more commonplace, legal issues will become more commonplace and complex. Sundahl told the New York Times, 

“The more we go out there and spend time out there, all the thing we do here are going to happen in space…just because it’s in space doesn’t mean it’s not subject to law.”

NASA Astronaut Accused of Identity Theft
NASA Astronaut Accused of Identity Theft

Last week, McClain had an interview with the inspector general. She said she was just making sure that there was enough money in Worden’s accounts to pay bills and to take care of their four year old child, according to Rusty Hardin, McClain’s lawyer. However, the case is further complicated by NASA, which would be wary of showing lawyers their sensitive computer networks, according to Sundahl.

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Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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