ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4)– Jeff Koskimaki says his family was living the American dream until Aug. 26 when he heard an early morning knock on the door at his family’s Arvada home.
“I could see a line of officers standing outside my door and thought, ‘That’s very strange,’” said Koskimaki.
His life was about to take an unexpected turn.
“I was extremely frightened,” said Koskimaki, 34, who is married with three children under the age of 8 and works in retail sales.
Over the next 13 hours, he estimates 30 law enforcement officers turned his house upside down, seizing computers, laptops, iPads, modems, cellphones, cameras and DVDs.
“And they say they’re here because there was activity on the dark web involving our information and involving child pornography. They said ‘Tell us about your activity on the dark web’ and I said, ‘I’ve never been on the dark web and I don’t even know how to do that.'”
Koskimaki and his wife had previously only received traffic citations, according to Colorado court records.
Nearly four months after that raid, federal authorities have not charged Koskimaki or his wife with any crime but have not exonerated them either.
“We’re not bad people,” said Koskimaki, “We just want this to be over.”
He and his attorney believe the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have not found any child pornography and believe their personal information was stolen, their IP address hijacked and suggest federal authorities jumped the gun in raiding the house.
Koskimaki’s wife says she downloaded a fitness app in 2019, but according to online searches and a news account, the fitness app suffered a data breach with 15 million email addresses, passwords and IP addresses exposed and subsequently appeared for sale on the dark web.
Koskimaki says federal agents showed him printouts of chat room conversations involving child pornography and apparently his wife’s real name was being used, according to the search warrant reviewed by CBS4.
Gary Fielder, the family’s attorney, said, “Who else would get into a chat room, identify themselves by name and occupation? It seemed incredible from the moment they told the story.”
“We surmise some nefarious person hacked into their IP address. This could happen to anyone,” said Fielder.
Fielder said the U.S. Attorney’s Office has told him that they have millions of images to go through but so far, “They haven’t found any child pornography.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Denver, Jason Dunn, told CBS4, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office does not have a comment on your inquiry.”
Koskimaki said his wife has worked in early childhood development her entire life and was gainfully employed. But the agents seized her work cellphone and her work laptop, and the nature of the investigation led to her being terminated from her job several months after the raid.
“We feel like our information was hacked, compromised,” said Koskimaki, “and someone came through our system, used our IP address and used our information to go into the dark web and have the chats they had. I didn’t do anything; my wife didn’t do anything. They came out of nowhere, pulled me out of my home and wrecked our lives.”
After nearly four months in limbo and with all of their electronics still in federal hands, the family is asking for a resolution.
“I want them to give us our stuff back, tell us we are no longer people of interest and I want them to clear up these accusations,” said Koskimaki. “People need to know agents came to our home on a Wednesday morning, raided our house and found absolutely nothing of what their warrant wanted to find. And an apology would be nice.”