Ex-EnerVest employee admits he sabotaged computer system - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Ex-EnerVest employee admits he sabotaged computer system

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A disgruntled network engineer has admitted he sabotaged his former employer's computer system when he learned he was going to be fired.

Ricky Joe Mitchell, 34, now of Mableton, Ga., admitted that in June 2012 he remotely accessed Charleston-based EnerVest Operating's computer system and reset the network servers to factory settings. The company was unable to fully communicate or conduct business operations for roughly 30 days because of the change and was unable to retrieve information it thought had been backed up.

"In 2014, it goes without saying that any business's electronic communication capabilities and data storage are nearly as important to its success as the product or service it provides," U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said. "The prosecution of Mr. Mitchell for his reckless conduct underscores my commitment to help protect small businesses from any threat – both inside and out."

Mitchell faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and three years' supervised release when he's sentenced April 24. He also will have to make restitution.

The U.S. Secret Service investigated the case. U.S. Attorney Goodwin and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas C. Ryan handled the prosecution.