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Silver Spring residents Jason Michael Leidel, an active-duty Navy officer, and Sarah Elizabeth Sorg, a senior trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Transportation, are facing federal charges resulting from a campaign to harass Leidel’s ex-wife, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced Thursday.

Leidel, 42, and Sorg, 43, were indicted on charges of aggravated identity theft, fraud related to a protected computer, cyberstalking and conspiracy to commit cyberstalking, according to a press release.

Leidel and Sorg were expected to appear Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

According to the indictment, Leidel has been engaged in a campaign of harassment against his ex-wife since they separated permanently in August 2018. The couple has two children.

Leidel was a student in a doctorate program at the Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences in Bethesda when he and his wife separated. She and the couple’s two children returned to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where they had lived prior to Leidel’s assignment to the doctorate program, the indictment said.  

The indictment alleges that since the couple separated, Leidel has “engaged in an ongoing and extensive scheme to harass his ex-wife, interfere with court proceedings relating to domestic relations issues, and perpetrate fraud on courts” in Montgomery County and Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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According to the indictment, Leidel compromised the safety of his ex-wife’s email accounts and created spoof accounts in order to portray his ex-wife as a mentally incapable parent, with the goal of gaining custody of their children and thus deprive her of his retirement accounts and pension as per their divorce agreement. He also created fake accounts and phone numbers in order to send false communications from his ex-wife, which led to criminal charges being filed against her, and interfered with her professional and personal life, the indictment said.

Sorg, who lived in her Silver Spring home with Leidel, was aware of the fraudulent online accounts created by Leidel and helped him in harassing his ex-wife, perpetuating court fraud, and interfering with court matters, according to the indictment.

If convicted, Leidel and Sorg could face up to eight years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Attorney information for Leidel and Sorg was not immediately available through court records.

Apps Bichu reports on growth and justice. She can be reached at apps.bichu@bethesdamagazine.com