Programmer arrested for stealing Fed Reserve code

NEW YORK - A New York computer programmer has been arrested on charges that he stole computer code used to track government finances while working at the Federal Reserve of New York.

Bo Zhang was arrested Wednesday. Authorities said he stole the code last summer while he worked on it as a contract government employee.

If convicted, the 32-year-old Queens resident could face up to 10 years in prison.

A criminal complaint said Zhang admitted copying the code for use on his private office computer, his home computer and his laptop. The complaint said he then used the code in connection with a private business he ran training individuals in computer programming. A lawyer for Zhang declined to comment.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a press release: "As today's case demonstrates, our cyber infrastructure is vulnerable not only to cybercriminals and hackers, but also alleged thieves like Bo Zhang who used his position as a contract employee to steal government intellectual property. Fighting cyber crime is one of the top priorities of this office and we will aggressively pursue anyone who puts our computer security at risk."

Some of the things that the code that Zhang is accused of stealing does, according to the Manhattan D.A.'s press release, is it "handles ledger accounting for each appropriation, fund, and receipt within the (Department of the Treasury,) and provides federal agencies with an account statement--similar to bank statements provided to bank customers--of the agencies' account balances with the United States Treasury."