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Press Release

San Jose Resident Sentenced To A Year In Custody For Damaging Computers Of Silicon Valley Company

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Defendant Ordered to Pay Over $100,000 Restitution For Costs Incurred By Corporation When Responding To Computer Network Attack

SAN JOSE – Robert Saunders was sentenced to twelve months in prison and ordered to pay $124,003.79 in restitution for attacking a corporate computer network, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.

Saunders, 30, of San Jose, pleaded guilty on February 24, 2016, to one count of intentional damage to a protected computer. As part of his plea agreement, Saunders admitted he intentionally accessed the computer network of a Silicon Valley corporation based in San Mateo that provides integrated business management solutions over a web-based architecture.  On numerous occasions between July 26, 2012, and August 31, 2012, Saunders accessed the computer network of the publicly-traded corporation without authorization and caused losses with an aggregate value of approximately $189,000.

Saunders admitted that on one occasion he changed information for a demonstration account belonging to a retail business customer of the corporation and that his actions prevented potential customers from accessing the test account. On other occasions, Saunders obtained information through his unlawful access to a database and posted offensive content in the corporation’s test account. The corporation incurred approximately $189,000 in costs responding to the offense and restoring its systems.
Saunders was originally indicted by a federal grand jury on April 30, 2014. A Second Superseding Indictment was filed on February 24, 2016, charging him with one count of Intentional Damage to a Protected Computer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A) and (c)(4)(B)(i); four counts of Obtaining Information from a Protected Computer without Authorization, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(C) and (c)(2)(B)(i); and two counts of Possession of a Firearm in Interstate Commerce while Unlawfully Using A Controlled Substance, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3).  Pursuant to his plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to the intentional damage to a protected computer charge. 

The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Lucy H. Koh, U.S. District Judge on June 1, 2016. Judge Koh also sentenced the defendant to a three-year period of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit property seized during the execution of a search warrant at his apartment, including computer equipment used to facilitate the offense. FBI agents arrested the defendant on May 8, 2014, in Portland, Oregon. On September 12, 2014, he was ordered released on bond and remains out of custody. The defendant will begin serving the sentence on July 29, 2016.

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

Updated September 21, 2016