Threat Management, Incident Response, TDR

Five years for Utah man who stole $2M from credit unions

A Utah computer consultant has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for stealing $2 million from several credit unions at which he worked.

Zeldon Morris of Provo, Utah also was sentenced last week to five years supervised release and ordered to repay more than $1.8 million in restitution, a U.S. District Court official told on Monday. According to the Utah-based Daily Herald newspaper, Morris used passwords he was given as a computer systems consultant to initiate fraudulent transfers and to steal nearly $2 million from credit unions.

Morris obtained the passwords and user IDs after being hired as a third-party contractor at Open Solutions, a firm that provides computer systems consulting to financial institutions.

The credentials gave him unrestricted access to accounts as well as remote access to the computer systems, which he used to initiate fraudulent Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions into banks accounts he owned and other joint accounts he held with a business partner. Morris then used the money to fund remodeling and construction work on his Provo home, pay off two vehicles and go on several trips overseas.

Morris defrauded four organizations, including Family First Federal Credit Union, Alpine Credit Union, Desert First Credit Union and First Credit Union. He was indicted in April 2009 on one count of bank fraud, to which he pleaded guilty in March.

Morris' sentencing came one day after another rogue insider, former San Francisco network administrator Terry Childs, was found guilty on one count of denying computer services. Childs, reportedly disgruntled about imminent dismissal, refused to hand over administrative control to the city's FiberWAN network, which left San Francisco without control of its network for 12 days.

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