A former Garden Grove resident was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for hacking into computer systems operated by an Irvine-based company where he used to work, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
Nikishna Polequaptewa, 37, of Avondale, Arizona, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, who also ordered him to pay $53,305 in restitution to his former employer.
Polequaptewa was found guilty by a Los Angeles jury last year of one felony count of unauthorized impairment of the integrity and availability of data, programs, systems and information.
Polequaptewa began working in April 2014 at Blue Stone Strategy Group, which provided consulting services to Native American tribal governments throughout the United States. In addition to his consulting responsibilities, Polequaptewa led information technology and marketing at Blue Stone.
He began falling behind on his work and was relieved of IT and marketing duties in November 2014, according to prosecutors, who said Polequaptewa then was assigned to a consulting project in Florida for the Seminole Tribe. While on that project and angry that he had been stripped of his other job duties, Polequaptewa retaliated against Blue Stone by deleted the website and marketing materials that the company had developed over eight years, according to court documents.
Blue Stone had to spend more than $50,000 to restore its system to its state before Polequaptewa’s deletions, evidence showed.
After he resigned from the Florida project in November 2014, Polequaptewa continued to delete Blue Stone files, including client information, Blue Stone work product, and the company’s backup files held by a third party, according to prosecutors.
Polequaptewa’s final deletion was done by sending a wipe command to a Blue Stone desktop computer in Irvine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors said Polequaptewa’s deletions were first detected when an employee in Irvine saw files being deleted from a Google drive account by Polequaptewa while he was working on the Florida project.
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