FBI: Scorned ex-VP at Gwinnett healthcare company sabotaged shipments of masks, gloves

The vice president of finance at a Gwinnett County healthcare company is accused of taking out his frustration at being fired by hacking his former employer’s systems and sabotaging shipments of crucial medical equipment.

Christopher Dobbins, 40, of Duluth, was charged Wednesday with hacking the package shipping system at Stradis Healthcare, delaying the shipment of face masks, gloves and gowns during the global coronavirus pandemic, the FBI said.

Dobbins was hired at the company's Peachtree Corners offices in 2016, but "conflicts between Dobbins and other departments" within the company arose in 2019, according to FBI documents obtained by AJC.com. Those conflicts led to him being disciplined in August and December 2019.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia

During December, his access to the company’s package shipping system was disabled, the documents said. However, he allegedly created a fake account prior to that taking place so he could use that account to log on to the system within an hour of his legitimate access being cut off.

On March 2, he was fired.

About three weeks later, Dobbins received his last severance check from Stradis, but he’s accused of escalating his intrusion on the company’s systems.

The FBI said he used his initial fake account to create another in the system, which he used to modify more than 115,000 documents and delete more than 2,300 documents March 29. The hacking lasted about 45 minutes before he logged out and deactivated both accounts, the FBI said.

Those documents contained shipping information for the much-needed medical supplies, which were set to ship to hospitals across the South and to the New York area.

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The incident cost the company at least $5,000, delayed the medical supplies from shipping and created a threat to public safety, according to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

In a news release, Stradis said an internal investigation led it to suspect Dobbins due to his quarrels with the company and his former administrative access. The company contacted the FBI on April 7.

“Of course we are disappointed about a former employee who caused the company immeasurable internal harm and caused some temporary delays in our shipping system, but our focus is completely consumed in working 24/7 to serve the medical community and the public during this critical time,” Jeff Jacobs, Stradis CEO and co-founder, said in the release.

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After the FBI was able to track the two fake accounts to Dobbins by using his IP address, he was arrested and charged, investigators said. His mug shot was not available.

“The FBI is making it a priority during the worldwide pandemic to make sure crucial supplies are not being disrupted or diverted from the front lines of medical care,” Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a news release.

Georgia’s Coronavirus Fraud Task Force investigated the case.

Anyone who thinks they are a victim to a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19 is asked to call 866-720-5721 or email disaster@leo.gov.

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