EMPLOYEE ADMITS STEALING FIDELITY DATA

LOSSES & LAWSUITS

Under a plea bargain, William Sullivan pleaded guilty to the theft from Fidelity's Certegy unit. Sullivan had been a senior database administrator, responsible for enforcing data access rights at Certegy. To avoid detection, he allegedly stole the data physically between 2002 and 2007 rather than downloading it or using other traceable electronic means.

The stolen data - including names, addresses, and bank account, debit and credit card details - was sold for business cheques totalling more than $580,000 to an unidentified accomplice who then sold the data on. Sullivan faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

In August, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Fidelity by San Francisco law firm Girard Gibbs. The lawsuit, on behalf of the customers whose data was stolen, alleges Certegy and Fidelity failed to implement and maintain adequate security practices, exposing their customers to identity theft.

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