By Jamie Berry
February 1, 2007
AN ECONOMIST who hacked into the computer system of his former employer,
Access Economics, to pass confidential information to his new workplace
has been spared time behind bars.
Jeremy Thomas Rothfield accessed 18 email accounts of Access Economics
employees on more than 800 occasions over a five-month span, passing on
information to ACIL Tasman, a rival firm.
Rothfield was also in possession of many confidential tenders for
economic consulting work and minutes of Access Economics board meetings.
The County Court heard Rothfield left Access Economics on unsavoury
terms after feeling marginalised and dissatisfied with his treatment,
and joined ACIL Tasman.
Judge Liz Gaynor said Rothfield "plundered and pillaged" Access
Economics, where he once worked as a senior economist.
She said the charges, which each carry a maximum of two years' jail,
were deserving of a jail term, but Rothfield had never received any
financial gain from his activities and there was no evidence to suggest
the crimes resulted in a loss of work for Access Economics.
It was a "quite extraordinary scenario" where Rothfield had provided
potentially lucrative information to a new employer without seeking any
real financial return, Judge Gaynor said.
No claim for compensation was made by Access Economics, but there was a
confidential agreement between the rivals, Judge Gaynor said.
Rothfield, 35, of Noble Park, pleaded guilty late last year to 18
charges of hacking into the email accounts of Access Economics employees
from November 2002 until March 2003.
Judge Gaynor ordered Rothfield to pay $2000 if he breached the suspended
sentence in the next two years, but said: "I would be most surprised to
see you before a court again."
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