Former Government Employee Pleads Guilty to Accessing Government Website Servers Without Authorization
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Sathish Kumar Chandhun Rajendran, 36, of Sterling, Virginia, pleaded guilty yesterday to engaging in unauthorized access to government servers that hosted a Fannie Mae website used to support federal mortgage loan modification programs.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Michael P. Stephens, Acting Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA-OIG); and Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.
Rajendran pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information charging him with unauthorized access to a protected computer causing damage. Rajendran faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when he is sentenced on October 3, 2014. In the plea agreement, Rajendran also agreed, for a period of three years following his conviction, to refrain from participating as an employee, contractor or subcontractor in any government contract requiring clearance.
According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Rajendran worked at Fannie Mae as an Information Technology term employee and was assigned to the development of the CheckMyNPV.com website. This website was established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act by the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in conjunction with the government’s Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program. The online tool on this website, operated by Fannie Mae under the auspices of the MHA, allowed citizens to determine the net present value of their homes and check their eligibility to participate in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a federal program designed to avoid mass foreclosures.
After being terminated from employment in August 2013, Rajendran repeatedly used administrator credentials to log into government servers and make unauthorized changes to the CheckMyNPV website, including disabling the website’s online tool for checking HAMP eligibility. As a result of these actions, Rajendran caused damage and loss to the website in the amount of $30,000 to $70,000.
This case was investigated by the FHFA-OIG and SIGTARP. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander T.H. Nguyen is prosecuting the case.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-233.