Ex-employee could owe $1.5 million for network shenanigans

The former city employee who withheld passwords for a major San Francisco computer network could owe more than $1 million for the crime — or as little as $200,000.

Terry Childs, 45, took control of The City’s FiberWAN network in July 2008 after his bosses began looking into his strange behavior in the workplace.

Childs — who was convicted n April of one felony count of computer network tampering with an enhancement alleging the loss of more than $200,000 — is likely to be released from state prison by the end of January, his attorney Richard Shikman said Thursday. He received a four-year sentence in August and has been jailed since his arrest in July 2008.

As he heads toward being a free man, lawyers are fighting about how much he owes for the damage done to the network.

Prosecutors are trying to make Childs pay close to $1.5 million in expenses paid by The City. Those costs were mainly for consultants from companies such as Cisco who stayed on for weeks searching for booby traps and beefing up system security.   

A jury convicted Childs on April 27 of denying computer service. The jury also found true an allegation that damage from the crime exceeded $200,000.

Childs’ attorney argued Thursday that the restitution costs should be much lower. Childs was convicted of stealing the passwords to The City’s FiberWAN network, and Shikman said restitution should be related only to the expenses incurred in recovering those passwords.

“The money was spent to do other things,” Shikman said.

How the passwords were recovered is also what made the case garner nationwide attention. Mayor Gavin Newsom managed to collect the codes in a jailhouse visit to Childs. The system was back on track 12 days after Childs first locked out the rest of The City.

On Thursday, Judge Terry Jackson asked Assistant District Attorney Conrad Del Rosario if he could break down the costs for the 12 days The City was locked out of the system.

But after two years and a six-month trial, Del Rosario was unable to break down the costs by day,
saying that much of the money was paid only by the job done, not hourly.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocalSan Francisco

Just Posted

Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo led a late-game comeback against the Packers, but San Francisco lost, 30-28, on a late field goal. (Courtesy of San Francisco 49ers)
The Packers beat the Niners in a heartbreaker: Don’t panic

San Francisco is no better and no worse than you thought they were.

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers proved to be too much for the Niners in a Week 3 loss to Green Bay. It was San Francisco’s home opener for the 2021 season. (Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers.)
Week 3 NFL roundup: Packers victory over 49ers caps off a stellar Sunday

By Tyler Dunne New York Times Here’s the Week 3 roundup of… Continue reading

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, pictured with Rose Pak in 2014, says the late Chinatown activist was “helping to guide the community away from the divisions, politically.”
Willie and Rose: How an alliance for the ages shaped SF

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

Most Read