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Former Obama-era acting DHS inspector general pleads guilty to conspiring to steal government software

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Former Obama-era acting DHS inspector general pleads guilty to conspiring to steal government software

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The former acting chief of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General has pleaded guilty to charges related to a scheme to steal confidential government software, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Charles Edwards, who worked as the acting inspector general at DHS-OIG between 2011 and 2013, is accused of running a scheme to steal confidential and proprietary software from the government after leaving the agency and starting his own company.

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U.S. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, left, and Department of Homeland Security Acting Inspector General Charles K. Edwards testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 23, 2012, before the commission Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The government accused him of stealing software from the bureau, including government databases containing personal information about DHS and US Postal Service (USPS) employees, “so that his company could develop a commercial version of a case management system to be offered for sale to government agencies.” Edwards founded Delta Business Solutions in Maryland and was accused of stealing software between 2015 and 2017.

Prior to serving at DHS-OIG, he worked as the USPS Office of Inspector General and had access to both agencies’ software systems, including those used for case management and sensitive personal databases. He resigned from the DHS OIG in 2013 amid a Senate investigation into whether he delayed investigations and softened reports, he claims denied. The Washington Post reported that he was accused of pushing to change the reports’ conclusions to keep them from embarrassing the Obama administration. He was also accused of retaliation against staff who resisted him.

The Justice Department said Edwards pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft of government property and theft of government property. A second defendant has pleaded not guilty and his case is ongoing.

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In 2020, when Edwards was indicted, the DOJ said he stole the software so he could sell an improved version to the US Department of Agriculture. It was also alleged that he and the second defendant, Murali Yamazula Venkata, reconfigured Edwards’ laptop to download the stolen software and built a test server at his residence with the software and database.

Edwards was also accused of hiring software developers in India to create the alternative software.

Former Obama-era acting DHS inspector general pleads guilty to conspiring to steal government software

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