Phoenix man convicted of hacking computers of tribal consultants
PHOENIX – A Phoenix man was convicted Tuesday of hacking into the computers of a company that provides consulting services to Native American tribal governments.
Nikishna Polequaptewa, 36, was found guilty by a federal jury in Los Angeles on one count of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer and causing over $50,000 in loss, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California announced.
He is scheduled for sentencing Feb. 25 and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
While working for California-based Blue Stone Strategy Group, Polequaptewa waged “a coordinated campaign to delete information and data” from the company’s computer system, according to prosecutors.
In April 2014, he started working for Blue Stone as a consultant and in the company’s information technology and marketing departments.
He was relieved of his IT and marketing duties in November 2014 for falling behind in his work and was assigned to consulting work for the Seminole Tribe in Florida.
While on that project, he deleted the company’s website and marketing materials that had taken years to compile. After he resigned, he continued deleting files, including client information.
His last deletion was done through a command sent to a desktop computer in Irvine, California.