Two former employees of the Alabama Administrative Office of the Courts were indicted today in Montgomery, Ala., for stealing the programming code for a sensitive court data system, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance for the Northern District of Alabama.
The indictment charges Michael David Carroll, 58, and Jill Hawthorne, 35, both of Montgomery, with one count of stealing property having a value of $5,000 or more by an employee of a state or local government agency that receives $10,000 or more annually in federal assistance. Carroll is the former Director of Information Systems for the Alabama Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Hawthorne is a former database administrator for AOC.
According to the indictment, Carroll and Hawthorne stole the code for the AOC’s county court records database called Namemaster. The indictment also alleges that Carroll and Hawthorne stole the digital blueprint, known as the schema, for how the Namemaster database was constructed. A database schema often includes information concerning tables, fields, relationships, views, indexes and other such elements.
According to a publicly filed search warrant affidavit, Hawthorne and Carroll facilitated the unlawful transfer of the code and schema for Namemaster to an Orlando-based private software development company CyberBest Technology Inc. They also allegedly facilitated the transfer to CyberBest of hundreds of thousands of Jefferson County, Ala., court records from the state Namemaster database.
If convicted, Carroll and Hawthorne each face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Estes for the Northern District of Alabama and Trial Attorney William Hall of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, Alabama Bureau of Investigation and Alabama Attorney General’s Office.
Indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.