CHICAGO — A Maryland man cried in a Chicago federal courtroom when a judge sentenced him to three months in prison for running a hacker-for-hire service that shut down websites and affected people around the world.

Zachary Buchta of Fallston, Maryland, pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiracy to commit damage to protected computers. Buchta admitted in a plea agreement that he was a founding member of two hacker groups that charged a $20 fee to target anyone for online harassment.

U.S. District Judge Manish Shah said Tuesday that online attacks like the ones the 20-year-old’s groups orchestrated are “not a fantasy that doesn’t have real-world consequences.”

Prosecutors requested a 2 ½-year sentence. Buchta apologized and his attorney asked for probation. Buchta was ordered to surrender May 22 and must pay $350,000 in restitution.

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