Man Charged With Stealing $9.5M of Computer Code

Bo Zhang accused of pilfering Treasury software
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2012 9:44 AM CST
Man Charged With Stealing $9.5M of Computer Code
Officers guard the entrance to the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.    (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

A Chinese computer programmer has been charged with stealing software code worth $9.5 million while working at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Prosecutors say Bo Zhang, a Chinese citizen who worked for a technology firm contracted to work on code at the New York Fed, copied a software system relating to the "tracking of the billions of dollars that are electronically transferred every day in the US’ general ledger" onto a hard drive, then copied those contents onto his home computer, Bloomberg reports.

Zhang, who was released on $200,000 bail after a hearing yesterday, was arrested after a colleague told supervisors that Zhang had reported losing a hard drive containing the code. Zhang apparently told the FBI he swiped the code "for private use and in order to ensure that it was available to him in the event that he lost his job," and experts say the case does appear to be one of theft instead of espionage. "The fact that he was released on bail and charged only with theft is an indication that, at this time, the FBI does not believe that this is connected to international espionage," a cybercrime expert tells Reuters. (More Federal Reserve stories.)

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