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Press Release

Former El Paso-Based Company Employee Pleads Guilty to Computer Intrusion

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

In El Paso, 41-year-old Joe Vito Venzor faces up to ten years in federal prison after admitting today to illegally accessing his former employer’s computer system and shutting it down announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division.


Appearing before Senior United States District Judge David Briones, Venzor pleaded guilty to one count of transmission of a program to cause damage to a computer. By pleading guilty, Venzor admitted that on September 1, 2016, after being terminated from his position at the company’s help desk, he logged onto the company’s network through an administrator account and shut down the company’s email server and application server while deleting systems files essential to restoring computer operations.


Because of the intrusion, 300 employees in the production and shipping factory were unable to work for nearly three hours before the decision was made to send them home for the rest of the shift. The distribution center was not able to ship any of their products and customers could not place orders online. The IT Managing Director also had to hire a third party IT staff to assist with setting up a new application server for the company. The company continued to suffer direct and indirect losses because of the intrusion into its computer server in the ensuing days and weeks, as they had to reconstruct files, and fulfill production and customer services issues.


Venzor remains on bond pending sentencing scheduled for 9:30am on June 6, 2017, before Judge Briones in El Paso. In addition to the prison term, Venzor is also subject to a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution to his former employer, which has yet to be determined.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Greg McDonald and Rifian Newaz are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

Updated March 30, 2017