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May 09, 2016

Berks man charged with hacking into gas utility's computers

A Berks County man was charged Monday with hacking into the computers of a natural gas utility.

Marc Fox, 44, of Shoemakersville, a borough north of Reading, was charged with one count of intentionally causing damage to a computer, announced U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger.

Prosecutors allege that Sept. 11, 2015 and Oct. 2, 2015, Fox sent unauthorized commands to a computer owned by UGI Utilities Inc., a company that supplies natural gas to customers in Pennsylvania. Prosecutors alleged that Fox was able to intentionally change the passwords and permissions for certain accounts on UGI’s computers.

Fox then sent commands to a UGI computer that caused the rerouting of emergency calls during certain time periods so so they were not directed to the proper UGI telephone representatives, thus delaying the response to the calls, prosecutors allege.

Fox’s computer intrusions allegedly caused more than $5,000 in damage and caused a threat to public safety, prosecutors said.

If convicted the defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a possible fine, restitution to UGI, and a $100 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Albert S. Glenn.