Texas man sentenced for hacking Centerville Clinics computer system

September 14, 2017

A Texas man was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to 27 months in prison for hacking the computer system of a local health-care organization after he was fired from his job there.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Joy Flowers Conti imposed the sentence on Brandon A. Coughlin, 29, of Houston, after he pleaded guilty in June to charges of intentional damage to a protected computer and wire fraud.

According to the information presented to the court, Coughlin intentionally hacked and damaged 13 servers used by Centerville Clinics Inc. and engaged in a scheme to defraud the company by using its purchase card to order merchandise from Staples.

On Jan. 16, 2013, Coughlin was hired by CCI as an in-house computer systems administrator, but less than a month later he resigned from that position at the request of the management of CCI.

Using the administrative passwords he knew from his employment, Coughlin on Sept. 18, 2013, hacked the computer network. He disabled all administrative accounts needed to control any and all of the computer servers of CCI, and deleted users’ network shares, business data and patient health information and data, including patient medical records. He caused a financial loss of approximately $60,000 and caused CCI to stop treating patients until its system was restored.

Coughlin also admitted committing wire fraud when he attempted fraudulently to purchase online iPad Air tablets on the Staples account of CCI. As part of the fraud, Coughlin breached the email server of CCI. He directed that email server to delete email from Staples before it was routed to the purchasing supervisor who handled the Staples account for CCI.

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