Former DHS acting IG pleads guilty in software scheme

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A former acting top watchdog at the Department of Homeland Security pleaded guilty in a scheme to steal case management software from multiple federal agencies in order to create a new system to sell back to the government.

An ex-acting inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges after stealing software from his former office and using it to create a commercially-owned version of a case management system to sell back to government agencies, according to court documents. 

Former DHS Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards, 61, who held other government posts at the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and the Department of Transportation, acknowledged his involvement in a scheme to defraud the federal government by stealing copies of the DHS-OIG’s Enforcement Database System, among numerous other databases and systems containing personally identifiable information for approximately 246,167 DHS employees and 6,723 postal workers. 

The indictment, which was handed down in March, 2020 said Edwards, along with another defendant who has pleaded not guilty, intended to sell their version of the DHS-OIG case management system to the Department of Agriculture Office of inspector General through Delta Business Solutions, Inc., a company Edwards founded in September 2015. 

The charges also include theft, via activation keys held by DHS OIG, of Microsoft products valued at nearly $350,000.

Edwards allegedly conspired with Murali Venkata, a 56-year-old former IT specialist at the DHS-OIG headquarters and the second defendant charged in the case, to steal copies of the Enforcement Database System source code, along with DHS-OIG case management systems and other major databases. Venkata’s case remains pending.