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Fired CPS Employee Steals Personal Data Of 70,000 People, Charged With Multiple Felonies

CHICAGO (CBS)--When Chicago Public Schools fired an employee recently, she left her job with more than just her final paycheck.

Police say the employee, 28-year-old Kristi Sims of Hickory Hills, allegedly took the personal information of about 70,000 people contained in a CPS private database.

Sims was a temporary employee who worked in the CPS information center, police said. She may have stolen the data in retaliation for being fired, police said.


Sims, Kristi 28
28-year-old Kristi Sims of Hickory Hills is charged with multiple felonies after stealing personal information from Chicago Public Schools' database. (Credit: Chicago Police)

After she was fired, she copied--then deleted--a database with information police described as "sensitive." The stolen information is attached to CPS employees, volunteers and others, according to police.

Sims was arrested on Wednesday, and charged Friday with one felony count of aggravated computer tampering/disrupting service and four felony counts of identify theft. A former prosecutor said the crime was likely to carry federal charges.

Renato Mariotti is a former federal prosecutor who says the crime could come with stiff penalties because the allegations involve a mass amount of personal data stolen from a public institution.

"Typically I will tell you a (lot of) complex white collar cases are handled by the feds here in Chicago-- seems like the sorta case they'd be interested in," Mariotti said.

A resume posted online shows Sims was studying for a degree in criminal justice.

An email CPS sent Thursday to the people affected by the data breach details the personal information stolen.  It includes names, employee ID numbers, phone numbers, addresses, birth dates, criminal histories and any records associating individuals with the Department of Children and Family Services.

CPS's email reads, "There is no indication the information, which was in the individual's possession for approximately 24 hours, was used or disseminated by anyone in any way."


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