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Judge Sentences Defendant for Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Insider at financial services company stole documents, deleted files on server to hide tracks.

Monday, Jan. 11 -- Eastern Pennsylvania -- Yijia Zhang, a permanent resident of the United States, and a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, today was sentenced to 31 months in prison by the Hon. Legrome D. Davis, for a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.

Zhang had worked for a financial services company and had stolen a large number of electronic documents from his employer. (The documents included some that would have told how to access the company’s computer network. The government found no evidence that the files had been passed to anyone else, nor did it find any evidence that any of the information had been used to harm the company. In addition, no customer information was taken.)

To cover his tracks, in July 2010, Zhang deleted a large number of files from the server he had used to effectuate the theft, causing the server to stop working and its log files to be overwritten. The log files would have given evidence of his theft. Zhang pled guilty to the charge in October of 2015.

The sentence imposed by the Court was within the range recommended by the United States Sentencing Guidelines. In addition to the prison term, Judge Davis ordered the defendant to make restitution to his former employer of $100,000.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael L. Levy.

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