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A Duluth man whose job at a medical device packaging company was terminated in early March allegedly caused a delay in the shipping of equipment needed to protect medical providers during the COVID-19 coronavirus disease outbreak by gaining access to his former employer’s computer network and altering records, according to federal officials.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Christopher Dobbins, 40, has been charged with computer intrusion. He had administrator access to his employer’s computer system before he was terminated.

He allegedly had a fake account that he had created, before he was terminated, which was used to access the network.

“This defendant allegedly disrupted the delivery of personal protective equipment in the middle of a global pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Scarce medical supplies should go to the health care workers and hospitals that need them during the pandemic. The Department of Justice is dedicated to moving quickly on cases like this to bring criminal opportunists to justice and protect the public during these challenging times.”

Federal officials said that Dobbins, after using the existing fake user account that he already had to access his former employer’s network, then created a second fake account. That account was then used to delete about 2,371 records and edit about 115,581 more records.

Those records dealt with shipping orders the company was handling to ship personal protective equipment, also known as PPEs, to medical providers. Those shipments were disrupted or delayed because of the computer intrusion, according to the justice department.

“The FBI is making it a priority during the worldwide pandemic to make sure crucial supplies are not being disrupted or diverted from the front lines of medical care,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “We are grateful to the medical packaging company for promptly reporting this disruption to their delivery of important medical supplies, so that we could react quickly.”

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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