A former Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General pleaded guilty on January 14 to federal charges stemming from the theft of proprietary software and sensitive databases from the U.S. government.
According to court documents, Charles Edwards, 61, of Sandy Spring, Maryland, executed a scheme to steal confidential and proprietary software from the government. Edwards worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General from February 2008 until December 2013, including as acting inspector general. Prior to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, he worked in the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. At both agencies, Edwards had access to software systems, including one used for case management and other systems holding sensitive personal identifying information of employees.
After leaving the Office of Inspector General, Edwards founded Delta Business Solutions Inc., located in Maryland. From at least 2015 until 2017, he stole software from his former employer, along with sensitive government databases containing personal identifying information of the Department of Homeland Security and United States Postal Service employees, so that his company could develop a commercially-owned version of a case management system to be offered for sale to government agencies.
Edwards pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to conspiracy to commit theft of government property and theft of government property. A second defendant in the case, Murali Y. Venkata, 56, of Aldie, Virginia, has pleaded not guilty to charges and his case remains pending. Edwards will be sentenced at a later date. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.