A former Department of Homeland Security official was charged Friday after allegedly stealing government software and confidential databases, the U.S. Department of Justice said. Charles K. Edwards, a 59-year-old former DHS acting Inspector General, was charged with conspiracy to commit theft of government property and to defraud the United States, theft of government property, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. He allegedly stole department software and resold it back to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Edwards allegedly executed the scheme with his subordinate, Murali Yamazula Venkata, 54, who was charged with the same offenses plus and an additional charge of destruction of records.
Prosecutors allege that from October 2014 to April 2017, Edwards and Venkata plotted to steal the software used by the Inspector General’s office and databases containing highly sensitive personal information about DHS employees and the U.S. Postal Service so that “Edwards’s company, Delta Business Solutions, could later sell an enhanced version of DHS-OIG’s software to the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at a profit.” “Although Edwards had left DHS-OIG in December 2013, he continued to leverage his relationship with Venkata and other DHS-OIG employees to steal the software and the sensitive government databases,” prosecutors said in a Friday news release, noting that Venkata also helped Edwards reconfigure his laptop to upload the stolen software.