Viktor Savtyrev, 29, pleaded guilty to extortion after he threatened his former employers with computer crashes. He also threatened to enlist Eastern European hackers to launch attacks against his former employer, New York investment firm Third Avenue Management.
"My comrades for a small fee are able to help me out with bridging the firewall security and carry out data destruction and virus outbreak," Savtyrev wrote in an e-mail to the company, according to the complaint.
"I located the names and e-mail addresses of the editors of Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and the Daily News and all of them should be very interested in getting an article about a mutual fund (losing) data because some "Crazy Russian' (this is the name of the article which I wrote last night), was fired after 5 years of loyal service.''
Savtyrev was laid off in November but was reportedly upset at the parsimonious nature of his severance package. He told his employers that he wanted more money, better medical coverage and "excellent references," or he would take action.
However, Savtyrev made a serious mistake in putting his demands down in an email to directors, who promptly handed it over to the FBI, who arrested him within days.
He now faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to US$250,000.
His lawyer has reportedly said that Savtyrev panicked after being laid off and faced having to support two children with no income.