A former Acting Branch Chief of the Information Technology Division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS-OIG) was convicted today by a jury of multiple federal charges stemming from the theft of proprietary software and sensitive databases from the U.S. government.

Murali Y. Venkata, 56, of Aldie, Virginia, was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, theft of government property, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and obstruction. Venkata, along with co-conspirators Charles K. Edwards, who previously served as the Acting Inspector General of DHS-OIG, and Sonal Patel, another official at DHS-OIG, executed a scheme to steal confidential and proprietary software from the government along with the personally identifying information (PII) of hundreds of thousands of federal employees.

Venkata worked for DHS-OIG from June 2010 until he was placed on administrative leave in October 2017 following the charges in this case, including serving for a period as an Acting Branch Chief in the Information Technology Division. Before he joined DHS-OIG, Venkata worked at the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG). At both agencies, Venkata had access to software systems, including one used for case management and other systems holding PII of federal employees.

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 Joseph V. Cuffari of DHS-OIG, and Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb of USPS-OIG made the announcement.

Senior Litigation Counsel Victor R. Salgado and Trial Attorney Celia Choy of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine M. Macey, of the Fraud, Public Corruption, and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney David B. Kent, also of the Fraud, Public Corruption, and Civil Rights Section for the District of Columbia, provided significant assistance in the investigation of this matter.

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