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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Former Employee Of Silicon Valley Company Pleads Guilty To Damaging Ex-Employer’s Computers

SAN JOSE – Kenneth Kezeor pleaded guilty yesterday to intentionally damaging a protected computer, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  In pleaded guilty, Kezeor acknowledged attacking a corporate computer application of his former employer.

As part of his plea agreement, Kezeor, 47, of Felton, Calif., acknowledged he was hired by a Silicon Valley company on July 7, 1997, and worked for the company and its successor until he was terminated on October 31, 2012, as part of a reduction in force.  Prior to his termination, Kezeor worked as the system administrator for a customer support application and therefore had high-level access to the application and the associated database. Kezeor admitted that, for about four months after his termination, he used his administrator accounts to intentionally cause damage to his former employer’s application by transmitting information, codes, and commands.  Kezeor also admitted to using the account of another employee to cause damage to the application. Kezeor’s transmissions impaired the availability and integrity of data, programs, systems, or information. 

Kezeor was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 30, 2014.  He was charged with one count of intentional transmission causing damage to a protected computer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A); and one count of intentional access to a protected computer recklessly causing damage, in violation of  18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(B).  On April 28, 2016, the grand jury handed down a superseding indictment adding an additional charge of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A.  Pursuant to yesterday’s agreement, Kezeor pleaded guilty to a single count of intentional transmission causing damage to a protected computer.

Kezeor remains free on bond.  He is scheduled to be sentenced by the Honorable Beth Labson Freeman, U.S. District Judge, on September 20, 2016.  The defendant faces a statutory maximum term of ten years’ imprisonment and a maximum $250,000 fine.  An additional term of supervised release, fines, and restitution may be imposed, however, any sentence would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. As part of his plea agreement, Kezeor has agreed to pay restitution in an amount to be set by the Court at the time of sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle J. Kane and Matthew A. Parrella are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elise Etter and Melissa Dorton. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Cyber Crime
Updated September 20, 2016