Tampa woman faces 15 years for wreaking havoc on employer’s computer system after getting fired

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa woman faces 15 years in prison for damaging her employer’s computer system after she was fired from her company in 2019.

Medghyne Calonge, 41, was hired in January 2019 as the Head of Human Resources at the St. Petersburg office of an online provider of professional services based in New York. She was fired from the company in June 2019 for failing to meet the minimum requirements of her job after, among other things, she improperly downgraded a colleague’s access to a computer system following an argument with the colleague, according to the indictment and the evidence at her trial.

Just before being escorted out of the building, Calonge was seen by two employees “repeatedly” hitting the delete key on her desktop computer. Hours later, investigators said she logged back into the company’s computer system and started deleting job applications and resumes. She also left messages with profanities for the company to find. More than 17,000 job applications and resumes were deleted as a result of her conduct, authorities said.

“During the next two days, Calonge rampaged through System-1, deleting over 17,000 job applications and resumes, and leaving messages with profanities inside the system,” the press release states. “Ultimately, Calonge completely destroyed all of Employer-1’s data in System-1.”

Authorities said the company spent about $100,000 to investigate the matter and rebuild its computer system, but was unable to recover all the data.

On Aug. 16, Calonge was found guilty on one count of intentionally causing damage to a protected computer and one count of accessing a protected computer and recklessly causing damage.

“As a unanimous jury found today, Medghyne Calonge intentionally and maliciously caused severe damage to the computers of her former employer,” U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement on Aug. 16. “Her actions wiped out information vitally important to the employer company, and cost the company money and time to repair. Now Calonge awaits sentencing for her crimes.”

Calonge faces 15 years in prison. The count of intentionally damaging computers carries a maximum prison term of 10 years, and the count of recklessly damaging computers carries a maximum prison term of five years.