Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced Thursday that an employee of the Town of Hempstead Clerk’s Office has been arrested after he allegedly accessed the office’s computer system and deleted more than 5,000 files, including information and forms concerning marriage licenses and death certificates.
Derek Foder, 27, of Malverne, was arrested this morning by DA investigators and charged with felony computer tampering in the third degree, according to the DA's office.
Foder faces up to four years in prison if convicted and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in First District Court, Hempstead.
“Mr. Foder deleted sensitive information essential to the operation of an important Town of Hempstead office,” Rice said in a release. “My office will continue to weed out those who abuse the trust placed in them by the public and ensure that they face the consequences of their actions.”
On Aug. 9, it was discovered that Foder, an office aide in the clerk’s office, had logged on to his work computer the previous day and deleted more than 5,000 files from the office’s computer database, including information about marriage licenses and death records and a folder named “Marks Facebook Pictures” which contained official TOH photos, according to the DA's office.
Former Town Clerk Mark Bonilla was convicted earlier this month of official misconduct for threatening to transfer an employee unless he was able to procure compromising photos of a female employee who was suing Bonilla for sexual harassment. Bonilla was removed from office last week.
All of the deleted files were recovered and no personal information was compromised, the DA's office said. Some of the information Foder accessed and deleted is not available to the public without a court order.
Foder told the Town of Hempstead on August 12 that
he had deleted the files accidentally. He was fired the following day and the
case was referred to DA Rice’s office. Foder earned more than $38,000 per year
at the time of his termination, according to the DA's office.
Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Glicksman, Chief of DA Rice’s Money Laundering & Cyber Crimes Unit, is prosecuting the case, the DA's office said.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.