A Seattle man has been arrested for using popular peer-to-peer file sharing networks to get access to financial information housed on hundreds of computers across the United States, whose owners were inadvertently sharing directories containing sensitive information.

According to the indictment, 35-year-old Gregory Kopiloff allegedly used P2P clients such as LimeWire to search for terms like "federal tax return" and "credit report". He would then use the garnered information to open credit accounts, buy goods over the internet and resell them for about half its retail price. Investigators said Kopiloff was able to buy more than $73,000 worth of merchandise using online credit-card accounts he'd set up using the identities of at least 83 victims.

Although many people has been prosecuted for using P2P networks to illegally obtain and distribute copyrighted material, federal prosecutors are calling this the first case of its kind. If the charges being brought against Kopiloff hold up, he could face up to 22 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.