A worker terminated from his job at an El Paso, TX-based company faces up to 10 years in federal prison after admitting to illegally accessing his former employer’s computer system and shutting it down.
Joe Vito Venzor, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of transmission of a program to cause damage to a computer before Senior United States District Judge David Briones.
By pleading guilty, Venzor admitted on September 1, 2016, after being terminated from his position at the company’s help desk, he logged onto the company’s network through an administrator account and shut down the company’s email server and application server while deleting systems files essential to restoring computer operations.
Because of the intrusion, 300 employees in the production and shipping factory were unable to work for nearly three hours before the company decided to send them home for the rest of the shift. The distribution center was not able to ship any of their products and customers could not place orders online.
In addition, the IT managing director also had to hire a third party IT staff to assist with setting up a new application server for the company. The company continued to suffer direct and indirect losses because of the intrusion into its computer server in the ensuing days and weeks, as they had to reconstruct files, and fulfill production and customer services issues.
Venzor remains on bond pending sentencing scheduled for June 6 before Judge Briones in El Paso. Venzor also faces a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution to his former employer, which has yet to be determined.