Former employee of medical packaging company Christopher Dobbins pleads guilty to disrupting PPE shipments by damaging a computer
(STL.News) – Christopher Dobbins has pleaded guilty to the charge of reckless damage to a protected computer for deleting and modifying his former employer’s electronic shipping and other business records. Dobbins’s former employer is a medical packaging company that ships, among other things, personal protective equipment (“PPE”) to healthcare providers. Dobbins’s conduct delayed the shipment of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Preventing scarce medical supplies from being delivered to healthcare workers and hospitals that need them is illegal,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Thanks to the cooperation of the victim company and the hard work of our law enforcement partners, we were able to bring this investigation to a swift conclusion and obtain a conviction for this egregious act.”
“Thanks to the quick reaction of the medical packaging company in contacting the FBI, we were able to react quickly and arrest this disgruntled employee,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “During this world wide epidemic it is imperative that we make sure crucial medical supplies are not disrupted or diverted from the front lines of medical care.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: In early March 2020, Dobbins was terminated from his employment at a medical device packaging company. While employed at the company, Dobbins had administrator access to the computer systems containing the company’s shipping information. When his employment was terminated, he also lost his access to the company’s computer systems.
On March 26, Dobbins received his final paycheck from the company. Three days later, on March 29, 2020, he used a fake user account that he had previously created while still employed at the company to log into the company’s computer systems. He then conducted a computer intrusion that disrupted and delayed the medical device packaging company’s shipments of PPEs.
While logged in through the fake user account, Dobbins created a second fake user account and then used that second account to edit approximately 115,581 records and delete approximately 2,371 records. After taking these actions, Dobbins deactivated both fake user accounts and logged out of the system. The edits and deletions to the company’s records disrupted the company’s shipping processes, causing delays in the delivery of much-needed PPEs to healthcare providers.
Sentencing for Christopher Dobbins, 40, of Duluth, Georgia, is scheduled for October 16, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., before Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Samir Kaushal is prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Georgia’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fraud Task Force, aimed at better protecting the citizens of Georgia from criminal fraud arising from the pandemic. Formed by Georgia’s leading state and federal prosecutors, the task force serves to open channels of communication between partner agencies and more rapidly share information about COVID-19 fraud, while ensuring each fraud complaint is reported to the appropriate prosecuting agency. The task force member agencies include the Office of the Governor of Georgia, the Office of the Attorney General of Georgia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia. Georgia’s three U.S. Attorneys, the Attorney General of Georgia, and the Executive Counsel for the Governor’s Office serve on the task force.