Former Employees of Fashion Industry COmpany Charge With Trade Secret Theft & Computer Hacking – Legal Jobs & News

MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, and MARK J. MERSHON, Assistant
Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today that JEFFREY
WHITE and MORGAN GANTT face charges arising out of an alleged
scheme to hack into a computer network belonging to ENK
International LLC (“ENK”) and to steal confidential business
information from ENK. According to the criminal Complaint
unsealed earlier today in Manhattan Federal Court:

JEFFREY WHITE and MORGAN GANTT are former employees of
ENK, a trade show organization based in Manhattan that serves the
fashion industry. ENK terminated WHITE’s employment on July
2008. GANTT was terminated on August 21, 2008, after ENK
management learned through investigation that she was operating,
during her ENK work hours, a temporary employment agency
targeting exhibitors at fashion shows, including shows sponsored
by ENK, and that GANTT was using ENK resources to operate her
outside business. As GANTT was preparing to leave ENK’s offices
on the day she was fired, ENK management saw her remove a
portable USB computer storage drive from her ENK computer. GANTT
refused to turn over or show the contents of the USB drive to ENK
management, and left ENK’s offices.

A forensic analysis was conducted of the contents of
the ENK Blackberry device and the ENK computer GANTT used during
the course of her employment at ENK. GANTT surrendered the ENK
Blackberry device back to ENK the day her employment was
terminated. The forensic analysis of the ENK Blackberry device
revealed a series of text messages between GANTT and WHITE on
August 13, 2008, in which WHITE instructed GANTT to access and
send certain ENK electronic documents to WHITE’s personal e-mail
address. The forensic analysis of the ENK computer that had been
used by GANTT confirmed that GANTT sent those documents to WHITE
on August 13, 2008.

The documents that GANTT sent to WHITE contain
information relating to more than 440 retail buyers that had been
scheduled to attend ENK’s trade shows in July 2008, and the names
and other information relating to 500 persons who attended ENK’s
shows. Access to these documents could give competitors of ENK a
considerable advantage with respect to fashion industry clients.

The forensic analysis revealed another series of text
messages between GANTT and WHITE on or about August 15, 2008, in
which WHITE instructed GANTT to download confidential ENK files
to a USB storage device. An analysis of the ENK computer used by
GANTT revealed that GANTT downloaded those files, which contain
sensitive information relating to ENK’s trade show business.
WHITE and GANTT are charged with one count of
conspiracy to commit unauthorized computer access, and one count
of conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets. If convicted,
the defendants each face a maximum sentence of eleven years’

WHITE, 27, of Brooklyn, New York surrendered this
morning to federal authorities. GANTT, 24, of Jersey City, New
Jersey, is expected to surrender tomorrow.
WHITE was presented in Manhattan federal court today
before U.S. Magistrate Judge MICHAEL H. DOLINGER.
Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative work of the FBI’s
Computer Crimes Squad. Mr. GARCIA added that the investigation
is continuing.

This investigation is being handled by the Computer
Hacking and Intellectual Property Group of the Major Crimes Unit
of the United States Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States
Attorney DANIEL CHUNG is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely
accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.
08-276 ###

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