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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 14, 2017

Arlington, Tennessee Man Pleads Guilty to Unauthorized Access of Former Employer’s Network

Memphis, TN – An Arlington, Tennessee man has pleaded guilty to unauthorized access of his former employer’s network. Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Lawrence J. Laurenzi, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the guilty plea today.

According to the indictment, Jason Needham, 45, co-owner of HNA Engineering, intentionally accessed the network of a competing engineering firm, Allen & Hoshall, without authorization, and used that access to view, download, and copy proprietary business information worth approximately $425,000.

In connection with his guilty plea, Needham admitted that over a nearly two-year period, he repeatedly accessed the servers of Allen & Hoshall, his former employer, to download digitally rendered engineering schematics and more than 100 PDF documents containing project proposals and budgetary documents. Needham also admitted to accessing, on hundreds of occasions, the email account of a former colleague at Allen & Hoshall, which provided Needham access to Allen & Hoshall’s marketing plans, project proposals, company fee structures, and the rotating account credentials for the company’s internal document-sharing system.

Needham is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John T. Fowlkes, Jr., on July 14, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.

The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra L. Ireland of the Western District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Timothy C. Flowers of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section prosecuted the case on the government’s behalf.

Updated April 14, 2017