A former Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG) pleaded guilty today to federal charges stemming from the theft of proprietary software and sensitive databases from the U.S. government.
According to court documents, Charles K. Edwards, 61, of Sandy Spring, Maryland, executed a scheme to steal confidential and proprietary software from the government. Edwards worked for DHS-OIG from February 2008 until December 2013, including as Acting Inspector General. Prior to DHS-OIG, he worked at the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG). At both agencies, Edwards had access to software systems, including one used for case management and other systems holding sensitive personal identifying information of employees.
Edwards pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to conspiracy to commit theft of government property and theft of government property. A second defendant in the case, Murali Y. Venkata, 56, of Aldie, Virginia, has pleaded not guilty to charges and his case remains pending. Edwards will be sentenced at a later date. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia, Inspector General Dr. Joseph V. Cuffari of DHS-OIG and Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb of USPS-OIG made the announcement.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and Venkata is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.