CEO Pleads Guilty in Hacking

CEO Pleads Guilty in Hacking

The president and chief executive officer of Virginia-based Symplicity Corporation pleaded guilty last week to conspiring to hack into the computer systems of two competitors to improve his company’s software development and sales strategy.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton.

Ariel Manuel Friedler, 36, of Arlington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to access a protected computer without authorization. Friedler faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when he is sentenced on Aug. 1 before U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.

According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Symplicity provides student disciplinary records management services to colleges and universities. Friedler conspired with two other Symplicity employees between 2007 and 2011 to hack into the computer systems of two companies that competed with Symplicity’s business.