Programmer sentenced for IRS computer sabotage

Man who caused damage after learning he was to be fired gets term, fine

October 30, 2001|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A 20-year-old Calvert County computer programmer was sentenced yesterday in federal court to 15 months in prison for sabotaging an Internal Revenue Service computer after learning that he was about to be fired from his contractor job.

Claude R. Carpenter II of Sandy Wash Court in Lusby also was ordered to pay $108,000 in fines by U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow after he pleaded guilty in Greenbelt to causing damage to a federal computer.

Carpenter, who worked for an IRS computer contractor, was facing dismissal and had been reprimanded for repeated lateness when he sabotaged the computers, according to federal prosecutors.

He began working March 13, 2000, in Lanham for Network Resources, a firm used by the IRS to keep track of government computers.

Carpenter was reprimanded and warned that he might be fired, and his computer access was restricted after he arrived at work late seven times between April 20 and May 17, 2000, according to a statement of facts submitted by prosecutors.

His supervisor, Michael J. Peterson, wrote a letter formally dismissing Carpenter on May 18, according to the statement.

Peterson had yet to give Carpenter the letter, but Carpenter discovered it when he gained access to Peterson's computer files later that day, prosecutors said.

Carpenter then modified Peterson's programs so that they sent him insulting messages when he logged on the next day and inserted destructive code into three network servers, destroying many of their files, according to the statement.

Carpenter was dismissed the next day, when he described the letter to another supervisor who had called him to ask about the computer problem, prosecutors said.

Carpenter periodically telephoned the computer system administrator over the next two weeks, prosecutors said, to ask whether "anything was wrong with the servers."

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