Feds Indict Computer Tech for Long Beach Oil Rigs

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A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted an Upland IT contractor for allegedly sabotaging the offshore oil rig computer systems that he helped install for a Long Beach-based company. Mario Azar, 28, was charged Tuesday with a single count of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer, an allegation that could fetch him 10 years in the federal pen.

Azar was an information technology consultant under contract with Pacific Energy Resources, where he helped set up a computer system used to detect leaks and communicate between mainland offices and oil platforms at sea. He left the company in May 2008.

According to an FBI and Long Beach Police investigation that served as the basis for the indictment, Azar damaged the computer systems after he was declined permanent employment. The company temporarily lost use of its computer systems and had to pony up thousands of dollars for repairs to fix it, although the outage did not lead to any oil leaks or environmental harm, states the indictment.

Azar is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on April 6.

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