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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Texas Man Sentenced to 27 Months In Prison for Damaging Health Care System’s Computers

PITTSBURGH – A resident of Houston, Texas, was sentenced in federal court to 27 months in prison on his convictions of intentional damage to a protected computer and wire fraud, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.

Chief United States District Court Judge Joy Flowers Conti imposed the sentence on Brandon A. Coughlin, age 29, of Houston TX.

According to the information presented to the court, the Court was advised that Coughlin intentionally hacked and damaged 13 servers operated by a health care facility known as Centerville Clinic, Inc. (CCI) and engaged in a scheme to defraud that healthcare facility by using its purchase card to order merchandise from Staples. On January 16, 2013, Coughlin was hired by CCI as an in-house computer systems administrator.

On February 4, 2013, he resigned from that position at the request of the management of CCI. Using the administrative passwords he knew from his employment, Coughlin on September 18, 2013 hacked the computer network of CCI. He disabled all administrative accounts needed to control any and all of the computer servers of CCI, and deleted users’ network shares, business data, and patient health information and data, including patient medical records. He caused a financial loss of approximately $60,000. He caused CCI facility to cease its medical treatment of patients until its system was restored.

Coughlin also admitted committing wire fraud when he attempted fraudulently to purchase online iPad Air tablets on the Staples account of CCI. As part of the fraud, Coughlin breached the email server of CCI. He directed that email server to delete email from Staples before it was routed to the purchasing supervisor who handled the Staples account for CCI.

Assistant United States Attorney Paul E. Hull prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Acting United States Attorney Song commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the successful investigation leading to the prosecution of Brandon A. Coughlin.

Updated September 13, 2017