Contractor convicted of spying on former company
BD exec tapped into former firm's computer systems
- By Nick Wakeman
- May 06, 2013
A business development executive at a government contracting firm has been found guilty of spying on his former employer.
Robert Edwin Steele, 38, of Alexandria, Va., was convicted of 14 counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer.
According to a statement by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Steele left one company in December 2010, but kept a secret administrative account, and used that to download hundreds of proprietary documents from his former company.
The U.S. attorney’s office did not release the names of the companies Steele worked for, and a company contacted by Washington Technology as one of the possible employers did not return emails.
Steele had given his former company written and verbal assurances that he would not access its systems after he left. He urged them to shut down his existing accounts, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
At his new company, Steele was director of law enforcement, and worked on bids for contracts. In one competition, he undercut his former company by $100,000 while downloading documents. He still lost the competition, according to government statement.
However, he continued to enter the company’s systems, and the government alleges he accessed the system 79,000 times between Dec. 15, 2010, and Sept. 2, 2011.
The FBI investigated the case with help from the General Services Administration’s inspector general’s office.
Steele was indicted in December of two misdemeanor charges and 12 felonies. Each misdemeanor carries a possible one-year sentence and each felony as a maximum of five years each.
Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.