Navy contractor gets prison and $35,000 penalty
A former Naples, Italy-based government contractor was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and three years of probation and received a $35,000 fine for sabotaging Navy computers.
Richard Sylvestre, 43, of Boylston, Mass., was arrested in June on charges of transmitting programs and commands designed to damage computers at the U.S. Navy European Planning and Operation Command Center in Naples.
Sylvestre was sentenced April 5 in Norfolk, Va., by U.S. District Judge Rebecca B. Smith.
He could have received up to 10 years in jail, a $250,000 fine, and a three-year term of supervised release.
Sylvestre worked as one of three system administrators at the command center.
According to a Justice Department news release, he helped oversee the computer network used to track and plot the locations of ships, submarines and underwater obstructions within areas covered by the Navy’s European Command, such as the Mediterranean Sea.
Sylvestre became disgruntled when, in December 2005, the Navy turned down a contract proposal from his company, according to a story in The Washington Times.
He then sabotaged the computers to make his replacement look bad.
The sabotage could have caused Navy and civilian vessels to collide, the Times reported.
On May 19, 2006, shortly before leaving Italy to travel to the U.S., Sylvestre programmed a series of malicious commands on five computers, according to the Times.
Court documents said he designed the commands to disrupt and damage the network while he visited the United States.
Over the next two days, Sylvestre’s commands began to execute, causing two watch-floor computers and a computer database filter to go offline, according to the Times.
Before further damage occurred, a system administrator discovered the problem and prevented Sylvestre’s commands from affecting the other two targeted computers.