Ex-employee illegally accessed oil reserve’s computers



NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana man has pleaded guilty to illegally accessing computers used by the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve in New Orleans, causing $23,000 in damage.

Federal prosecutors say in court records that 56-year-old Gary Peter Simon Jr. of Mandeville had been a contract worker for the government operation that stores crude oil along the Gulf Coast for emergencies.

Prosecutors said he resigned in August 2018 but accessed the petroleum reserve office’s computers from his home in October and altered or deleted files, including log files showing which resources were accessed.

Prosecutors said responding to Simon’s actions and restoring the system cost about $23,000.

Simon pleaded guilty Tuesday. Sentencing is set for November.

A statement from the U.S. attorney’s office says Simon faces up to five years in prison.

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