Jonathan Toebbe, 42, is described as a nuclear engineer in the Navy. The DOJ said he and Diana, 45, first sent information to an unspecified country in April, offering “a sample of limited data and instructions on how to establish a covert relationship.”
“The affidavit also claims that Toebbe then began correspondence via encrypted email with someone he believed to be a representative of the foreign government,” the DOJ said. “The person really was an undercover FBI agent.”
According to the criminal complaint, the FBI was able to successfully convince a skeptical Toebbe that he had successfully connected with a foreign agent, including through “behavior”.[ing] an operation in the Washington, DC area that resulted in a signal being placed in a location associated with the unspecified country. The aim was to convince Toebbe that he was exchanging messages with a member of that country’s secret service. After several months, Toebbe allegedly hit an agreement to sell restricted data in exchange for thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency. “
On June 26, the couple reportedly gave their first information in West Virginia, with Diana serving as a lookout.
“There Jonathan Toebbe, while Diana Toebbe acted as a lookout, placed an SD card hidden in half a peanut butter sandwich at a pre-arranged ‘dead drop’ location,” the Justice Department said.
There was also an exchange in August; the two were arrested in West Virginia after another fall. According to the DOJ, the Toebbes received $ 100,000 in cryptocurrency – starting with a payment of $ 10,000 and ending with a payment of $ 70,000 – in exchange for the information they provided and keys to access the information on the SD cards.
The Toebbes, who live in Annapolis, Maryland, will appear in Martinsburg, W. Virginia court Tuesday.
The case dates back to a violation of the Atomic Energy Act, a 1954 law signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to protect the country’s nuclear secrets.