HONOLULU – Casey K. Umetsu, Sr., age 40, of Honolulu, Hawaii, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Jill A. Otake to sabotaging his former employer’s computer network. Sentencing is set for January 19, 2023.
According to court documents and information presented in court, Umetsu worked as an information technology professional for a prominent Hawaii-based financial company between 2017 and 2019. In that role, Umetsu was responsible for administering the company’s computer network and assisting other employees with computer and technology problems. As part of his guilty plea, Umetsu admitted that, shortly after severing all ties with the company, he accessed a website the company used to manage its internet domain. After using his former employer’s credentials to access the company’s configuration settings on that website, Umetsu made numerous changes, including purposefully misdirecting web and email traffic to computers unaffiliated with the company, thereby incapacitating the company’s web presence and email. Umetsu then prolonged the outage for several days by taking a variety of steps to keep the company locked out of the website. Umetsu admitted he caused the damage as part of a scheme to convince the company it should hire him back at a higher salary.
“Umetsu criminally abused the special access privileges given to him by his employer to disrupt its network operations for personal gain,” said US Attorney Clare E. Connors. “Those who compromise the security of a computer network – whether government, business, or personal – will be investigated and prosecuted, including technology personnel whose access was granted by the victim.”
“This is a great example of a company partnering, and working with the FBI, to catch a former employee who sabotaged their network for their own personal gain,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “We encourage companies to include the FBI as part of their cybersecurity incident plan so we can assist when they have a cyber incident.”
Umetsu faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This conviction is the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant US Attorneys Rebecca A. Perlmutter and Wayne A. Myers are handling the prosecution.