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Press Release

Delaware Man Pleads Guilty To Extortion, Computer Intrusion

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio
CONTACT: Fred Alverson
Public Affairs Officer

COLUMBUS – Donald Christopher Dailey, 37, of Delaware, Ohio pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to extortion for demanding money from the company where he was the information technology administrator in exchange for not disclosing internal financial and other information. Dailey also admitted to “hacking” into an ex-girlfriend’s email account.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced the guilty pleas entered today before U.S. District Judge Michael Watson.

According to court documents, Dailey abruptly resigned from the engineering company where he worked on October 1, 2012. Employees found a laptop connected to the company network and streaming live email of the company’s CEO. It was hidden in Dailey’s private and secure workroom. In a resignation letter he sent to the CEO, Dailey claimed he had knowledge of what he alleged was damaging financial and other information regarding internal company communications that he would disclose to authorities and certain customers unless the CEO and his business partner sat down and talked with him.

On October 13, Dailey called the CEO and made an opening demand of 75 percent of the $92,500 expected salary if he had stayed with the company. FBI agents arrested Dailey on October 16 and searched his residence. An analysis of Dailey’s computer revealed that he had gathered personal information about the company’s employees including everyone’s name and salary, and had stored the data on his personal computer. The alleged documents or information referenced by Dailey as part of the extortion were not found.

Dailey also admitted illegally accessing an ex-girlfriend’s email and bank accounts from a computer at the engineering company where he worked before he resigned.

Dailey remains on house arrest pending sentencing on a date to be set by Judge Watson. Extortion is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Intentionally accessing a computer without authorization is punishable by up to one year in prison.

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the FBI agents who investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah A. Solove, who represented the United States in the case.

Updated July 23, 2015