Unauthorized Computer Access: General Linen (NH) Pleads Guilty

Posted December 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm

General Linen Services LLC, Somersworth, NH, recently pleaded guilty in a case dating to 2009-’10 that involved gaining unauthorized access to the online database of a rival company for commercial advantage, according to news reports and news releases from federal law-enforcement authorities.

Charges were filed in early December and General Linen entered a guilty plea on Dec. 3 before U.S. District Judge Stephen J. McAuliffe in Concord, NH. Specifically, General Linen Somersworth pleaded guilty to computer hacking in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Sections 1030(a)(2)(C) & (c)(2)(B)(i).

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire, along with the Boston Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), alleged that between September 2009 and April 8, 2010, General Linen “intentionally accessed a computer without authorization, and thereby obtained information from a protected computer.” The computer was used in interstate commerce and “the offense was committed for purposes of commercial advantage and private financial gain,” the U.S. Attorney’s release said. A release from the FBI said that in September 2009 a former information technology (IT) director for General Linen Somersworth gained unauthorized access to the computer server of a competing company with a similar name, General Linen Services Co. Inc., Newburyport, MA.

In a statement from General Linen Somersworth, the company acknowledged its involvement in the violations that occurred more than five years ago. “The company entered into a plea agreement to accept responsibility and resolve the matter,” the statement said. “The company greatly regrets its misconduct and has committed to ensure this will not be repeated.

“One of the many lessons learned is that in today’s digital age we must all be diligent in regularly reviewing our Internet protocols and security systems to ensure strong password protection and controls.

“We look forward to putting this episode behind us and putting our collective energies into growing our business in a responsible, productive way. Rest assured, we will continue to provide the highest quality and services to all our customers, and foster a workplace our employees can be proud of.”

In a statement to customers posted on its website, General Linen Newburyport said it too was glad to have the case resolved. Sentencing is scheduled for March 26, 2016, the FBI release said. General Linen Somersworth faces a maximum sentence of five years’ probation, up to a $500,000 fine, and may be ordered to pay restitution to General Linen Newburyport. Click here and here and here for details.