You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Mandeville Resident and Former Department of Energy Contractor Sentenced to 3 Years Probation for Accessing Government Computer System without Authorization and Recklessly Causing Over $23,000 Worth of Damage

NEW ORLEANS –  U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that GARY PETER SIMON, JR., age 56, a resident of Mandeville, Louisiana, was sentenced on May 19, 2020 to (3) three years probation by United States District Judge Greg G. Guidry after previously pleading guilty to intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization and recklessly causing damage resulting in loss of more than $5,000 during one year, in violation of 18 U.S.C. '' 1030(a)(5)(B) and 1030(c)(4)(A).  SIMON was also ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid community service, pay a $100 special assessment fee, and restitution to the victim in the amount of $23,200.

According to court documents, The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Office (SPRO) was a component of the Department of Energy that was responsible for, among other things, overseeing and maintaining the readiness of the United States’ stockpile of emergency crude oil, which was stored along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico.  DOE SPRO operated a restricted cloud-based computer system to handle a variety of functions, including documenting daily activity.  SIMON, who was employed as a contractor for DOE SPRO from September 2007 until August 2018, worked in the Emergency Management Directorate and was responsible for, among other things, IT management of SPRO network applications.  He was one of two individuals who knew the username and password of the Administrative Account. 

After SIMON resigned from his contracting agency, in about August 2018, he was no longer authorized to access the DOE SPRO computer systems.  Nevertheless, on about October 21, 2018, SIMON intentionally accessed the DOE SPRO cloud-based system remotely without authorization.  After SIMON accessed the system, he altered and deleted various files.  As a result of the intrusion and subsequent manipulation of protected data, operators were unable to access their log views on the computer system, and they could not annotate work they completed electronically.  The computer system remained compromised for approximately 2-3 hours after the discovery of the unauthorized access. Thereafter, SIMON used the account of a current SPRO employee without that employee’s authorization, to make changes to log views and to attempt to delete audit log files.   SIMON’S actions resulted in loss to the DOE, in the form of costs associated with responding to the offense, conducting a damage assessment, and restoring data, program, system, and information to its pre-offense condition, in the amount of approximately $23,200.

U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter.  Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg, supervisor of the Public Corruption Unit, is in charge of the prosecution.

Updated May 20, 2020