Former port IT director pleads guilty to transporting stolen computers
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 39-year-old man has admitted to transporting over a hundred stolen computers across state lines, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Tyler Wright Fuhrken, Corpus Christi, pleaded guilty to using $320,098 from the Port of Corpus Christi to purchase Apple computers for personal use while employed as its IT director.
The investigation revealed that from May 22, 2016, to Feb. 4, 2021, Fuhrken authorized the purchase of 162 Apple computers. He had the authority to do so as necessary for the port. However, he did not record the purchased computers in the port’s asset control system or inventory.
Authorities traced a series of suspicious PayPal deposits into Fuhrken’s bank account. They were from a computer reseller located in New York who acknowledged purchasing many Apple computers from Fuhrken. Fuhrken would invoice the reseller for the computers on PayPal and would ship the computers from Texas to the resale shop located in New York.
The reseller provided authorities with a list of the computers he purchased. They were able to identify the 162 Apple computers missing from the port.
U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will impose sentence July 27. At that time, Fuhrken faces up to 10 years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. As part of his plea agreement Fuhrken also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $421,233.93.
He was permitted to remain on bond pending his sentencing hearing.
The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Corpus Christi Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. Thorpe is prosecuting the case.