Former IT director gets jail time for selling government's Cisco gear on eBay

Former Horry County IT security director sentenced to two years in federal prison.

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A South Carolina man was sentenced this week to two years in federal prison for taking government-owned networking equipment and selling it on eBay.

The man, Terry Shawn Petrill, 48, of Myrtle Beach, worked as the IT Security Director for Horry County in South Carolina, the Department of Justice said in a press release on Tuesday.

According to court documents, "beginning on June 11, 2015, through August 23, 2018, Petrill ordered forty-one Cisco 3850 switches that were to be installed on the Horry County network."

US authorities said that through the years, when the switches would arrive, Petrill would take custody of the devices and tell fellow IT staffers that he would handle the installation alone.

However, investigators said that "Petrill did not install the switches on the network and instead sold them to third parties and kept the proceeds for himself."

FBI agents who investigated the case said they tracked nine of the 41 missing Cisco switches to ads on eBay, while the location of the rest remains unknown.

Nonetheless, this was enough to file charges against Petrill, which authorities arrested and indicted in November 2019.

Officials said Petrill "confessed his activity in a manner to attempt to assist authorities" and "fully accepted responsibility for his actions."

Besides prison time, Petrill was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $345,265.57 to the Horry County Government.

This marks the second legal case over the past week where Cisco was involved. Last week, a former Cisco engineer also pleaded guilty to accessing his former employer's network and wiping 456 virtual machines, which eventually led to disruption to over 16,000 Webex Teams accounts.