U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Virginia
(540) 857-2250
October 16, 2015

Winchester Man Pleads Guilty to Computer Crime

HARRISONBURG, VA—A Winchester man, who previously worked in the IT department of a Winchester-based company, pled guilty yesterday in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg to a federal computer crime.

Christopher T. Wood, 41, of Winchester, Va., waived his right to be indicted and pled guilty yesterday to a one count Information charging him with intentionally accessing and exceeding authorized access to a computer.

“The prosecution of Mr. Wood should serve as notice to all that the United States Attorney’s Office and our partners in law enforcement will investigate and punish those individuals who access protected computers without authorization and with the intent to cause mischief,” United States Attorney Anthony P. Giorno said yesterday.

“The Richmond Division’s Computer Intrusion Squad has a talented team of experienced and technically trained agents who are motivated to aggressively pursue both national security and criminal intrusion matters,” said Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division.

According to evidence presented at yesterday’s guilty plea hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Grayson Hoffman through a filed statement of facts, Wood worked for a company, “Victim Company,” that had offices and operations in Winchester, Virginia. Wood worked as a web developer in the IT department at Victim Company.

On or about January 8, 2014, the defendant was laid-off from Victim Company. As a result, Victim Company deactivated Wood’s electronic credentials which had given him access to the company’s internal computer network and file server systems. Shortly after being laid-off, Wood went home to his residence in the Winchester area, and through his home computer, remotely logged onto Victim Company’s computer system using another employee’s credentials, without that employee’s knowledge or consent.

Wood accessed Victim Company’s database, without their consent, and deleted many files from the company’s servers and disabled some of Victim Company’s accounts. When Victim Company noticed the damage they contacted law enforcement.

On February 4, 2015, law enforcement investigators interviewed Wood at his home, at which time he admitted to logging onto the company’s computer system, without their consent, and while using another employee’s credentials. He admitted that he deleted files and disabled accounts because he was upset about losing his job. IP information obtained by investigators corroborate that a computer in Wood’s home did in fact access Victim Company’s computer systems. It was later determined that Victim Company spent approximately $61,710 as a result of the damage caused by the defendant’s actions.

At sentencing, Wood faces a maximum possible penalty of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000. The defendant has also agreed to pay $61,710 in restitution to Victim Company for the damage caused by his actions.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Grayson Hoffman is prosecuting the case for the United States.

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