Former Acting DHS IG Indicted for PII, Software Theft

A Federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicted Charles Edwards, former acting inspector general (IG) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), today on 16 charges, including theft of “sensitive government databases containing personal identifying information (PII)” of DHS and U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employees.

Another former DHS employee, Murali Yamazula Venkata, was indicted alongside Edwards with an additional charge of destroying records. The charges apply to the duo’s alleged plot to steal confidential, proprietary software from the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) between October 2014 and April 2017, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced.

DoJ alleges that Edwards had hoped to acquire the sensitive databases and software, including PII, so that his company, Delta Business Solutions, could commercialize it and sell a better version to the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General for profit. The former acting IG even hired software developers in India to help develop the new product, the government alleges.

Further, Venkata and other associates helped Edwards upload the stolen products to his laptop, troubleshoot tech problems associated with the stolen products, and build a server to test the stolen products at Edwards’s home, according to the government’s charges.

Edwards served as acting IG from 2011 to 2013 but resigned after accusations of nepotism and other misconduct.

DHS’s OIG Public Affairs Office did not respond to a MeriTalk request today for comment on the indictment.

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