IT director pleads guilty to deleting organ donation records

The former employee of a nonprofit organization broke into computer network after being fired

The former IT director for a nonprofit organ and tissue donation center pleaded guilty to a charge that she broke into the organization's computer network and deleted organ donation database records, invoice files, and database and accounting software, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Danielle Duann, 51, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to a charge related to illegally accessing the computer network of LifeGift Organ Donation Center in Houston.

Duann was indicted in June on one count of causing damage to a protected computer.

LifeGift is the sole provider of organ procurement services for more than 200 hospitals in parts of Texas, the DOJ said.

LifeGift fired Duann from her position as director of information technology on Nov. 5, 2005, and the organization revoked all of Duann's previous administrative rights and access to the LifeGift computer network, the DOJ said.

On Nov. 7 and 8, Duann repeatedly gained unauthorized access to the LifeGift network through a remote connection from her home, the DOJ said.

She deleted numerous database files and software applications, as well as their backups, relating to LifeGift's organ and tissue recovery operations, the DOJ said.

Duann attempted to conceal her activities by disabling the computer logging functions on several LifeGift servers and erasing the computer logs that recorded her remote access, the DOJ said.

LifeGift's financial loss due to Duann's intrusion was more than US$94,000, the DOJ said.

Duann is scheduled to be sentenced on July 28. She faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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Grant Gross

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