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Former DHS Acting IT Chief Convicted in Software, Database Theft Scheme

Former DHS employees targeted confidential, proprietary software and personally identifying information (PII) for hundreds of thousands of federal employees.

The former acting branch chief of the US Department of Homeland Security's Information Technology Division today was convicted on several federal charges related to pilfering government proprietary software and databases.

Murali Y. Venkata, 56, of Aldie, Va., was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the US government, theft of government property, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and obstruction. He had worked with two other former government officials — Charles Edwards, former acting inspector general of DHS-OIG, and Sonal Patel, also of DHS-OIG — who pleaded guilty previously in the scheme.

The three former DHS officials conspired to steal sensitive, proprietary software from the feds as well as personally identifying information for hundreds of thousands of federal workers, according to a Justice Department press announcement today.

Edwards and Patel separately pleaded guilty in 2022 and 2019, respectively, for pilfering US government property in order to create a commercial case management system to sell to government agencies. Venkata stole source code and databases from DHS-OIG and helped Edwards install servers in his home for software developers in India to use to create a commercial version of the stolen software.