Ex-W.Va. worker admits crashing computer system

CHARLESTON (AP) — A former network engineer for an oil and gas firm’s Charleston office has admitted to intentionally causing damage to the company’s computer system.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Tuesday that 34-year-old Ricky Joe Mitchell pleaded guilty in federal court in Charleston.

Goodwin says Mitchell admitted that after learning he was going to be fired in June 2012, he remotely access EnerVest Operating’s computer system and reset the network servers to factory settings.

As a result, the company was unable to fully communicate electronically or conduct business operations for about 30 days. In addition, data that the company initially thought had been backed up couldn’t be retrieved.

Mitchell faces up to 10 years in prison. Goodwin says he also could be ordered to pay restitution. Sentencing is set for April 24.

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