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[ISN] Man faces federal data tampering charge


News Staff Reporter
May 09, 2007

An Ann Arbor man was federally charged Tuesday with hacking into the 
computer system of his former employer in Waterford and tampering with 
sensitive personal data, officials said.

Court documents allege that Joseph Patrick Nolan accessed the computer 
system of Pentastar, which handles flight operations for several large 
automotive companies in the state, and that he deleted critical 
employment records about two weeks after he resigned in January. The 
company told authorities the action caused roughly $34,000 in damages.

Also Tuesday, Nolan resigned from his job as a senior infrastructure 
specialist in the Information Technology Department for the city of Ann 
Arbor, according to a city official. Nolan was hired by Ann Arbor in 
February at an annual salary of $75,000. He was expected to return to 
work Tuesday after a vacation, but he instead resigned, said Tom 
Crawford, the city's chief financial officer.

Nolan declined to discuss the case when he was reached by telephone 
Tuesday afternoon.

Nolan was arraigned in federal court in Detroit on one count of computer 
intrusion. He was released on $10,000 personal bond. A preliminary 
hearing was scheduled for May 29.

A complaint filed by the FBI charges that Nolan was upset about being 
released from Pentastar sooner than he had anticipated. The documents 
allege that Nolan gave a two-week notice Jan. 15 that he was resigning, 
but two days later, company officials told him not return. 
Representatives at Pentastar said he would be paid for those final two 
weeks if he signed a separation agreement by Jan. 26, but he did not 
sign the document, court documents indicate.

Officials with Pentastar told authorities that their firewall system was 
compromised and an entire computer drive of personal employee 
information was deleted, records stated.

The complaint charges that Nolan was one of only three people who knew 
the needed passwords to log into the company's computer system at that 

Federal investigators said they traced the intrusion to Nolan's Ann 
Arbor apartment, which is served by multiple wireless networks.

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