San Francisco Manager Arrested on Federal Charges of Computer Fraud (18 US Code 1030)

The manager of a Bay area search firm (name withheld to protect the anonymity of the accused), has been recently convicted of 6 different felony charges for having stolen customer information in order to begin his own firm.

He worked for the firm Korn/Ferry International (in Redwood City) before leaving to pursue his own interests.  It seems that hel had everything he needed in order to start his own business; he had the knowledge, the experience and the capital.  However, there was one thing that he didn’t have, a significant client base.  Instead of reaching out to former clients through some other means, he convinced two of his old co-workers at Korn/Ferry to illegally download client lists, including private customer information and send it to him.

This is a federal offense per the U.S. Government (18 US Code 1030).  Because of this, prosecutors sought a 27-month sentence.  However, he was eventually given a 1-year sentence in federal prison instead. This is a shorter sentence by far than the suggested federal guideline of 15-21 months.  U.S. District Judge Edward Chen was the acting judge for the case and he determined to levy an additional fine of $60,000 against him.  He was convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for having violated computer policies.  Interestingly, when he resigned from Korn/Ferry, he signed a non-compete agreement and this weighed heavily in the court’s decision.