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Former senior US Homeland Security official indicted for theft

WASHINGTON: A former senior official in the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been indicted for stealing government software and selling back a commercial version to US agencies, the Justice Department said Friday.

Charles Edwards, 59, a former acting DHS inspector general, and a former subordinate, Murali Yamazula Venkata, 54, were indicted on 16 counts by a federal grand jury in Washington, the department said in a statement.

The two are accused of conspiracy to commit theft of government property, wire fraud, identity theft and other charges.

According to the indictment, Edwards, Venkata and others, from October 2014 to April 2017, stole proprietary software from the DHS Office of Inspector General along with sensitive government databases containing personal identifying information of DHS and US Postal Service employees.

Edwards’s company, Delta Business Solutions, then sold an enhanced version of the management software to the Office of Inspector General for the US Department of Agriculture, the indictment said.

The Justice Department said Edwards hired software developers in India to develop commercial alternatives to the government software.

Another alleged conspirator, Sonal Patel, a DHS technology manager, pleaded guilty in April of last year to one count of conspiracy to commit theft of government property and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

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