IT Director Commits Crime of Password, Hacks Former Employer's Network

The former director of information technology for a non-profit organ and tissue donation center has entered a guilty plea to intruding into her former employer's computer network.

At a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division hearing before Judge David Hittner, Danielle Duann, 51, admitted to illegally accessing the computer network of LifeGift Organ Donation Center and then intentionally deleting organ donation database records, accounting invoice files, database and accounting software applications, and various backup files without authorization.

LifeGift is the sole provider of organ procurement services for more than 200 hospitals throughout 109 counties in North, Southeast, and West Texas. Duann was previously indicted on this charge by a federal grand jury on June 24, 2008.

According to the statement of facts in the case, LifeGift terminated Duann from her position as its director of information technology on Nov. 5, 2005, and the organization revoked all of Duann's previous administrative rights and access to the LifeGift computer network. Beginning in the evening of Nov. 7, 2005, and continuing into Nov. 8, 2005, Duann repeatedly gained unauthorized access to the LifeGift computer network via a remote connection from her home and intentionally caused damage by deleting numerous database files and software applications, as well as their backups, relating to LifeGift's organ and tissue recovery operations.

Further, according to the statement of facts, in an attempt to conceal her activities, Duann disabled the computer logging functions on several LifeGift computer servers and erased the computer logs that recorded her remote access to the LifeGift computer network. LifeGift suffered damage and losses in excess of $94,200 as a result of Duann's computer intrusion and intentional, unauthorized deletion of programs and files.

Duann is scheduled to be sentenced by Hittner on July 28, 2009. She faces a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

This case was investigated by the FBI and is being jointly prosecuted by Trial Attorney Thomas Dukes of the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Bret W. Davis of the Southern District of Texas.

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