A crook who stole millions of dollars by taking over a computer company and turning it into a cash machine has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Robert Dickey, 41, a former Apple Inc. executive, pleaded guilty last week to stealing $2.5 billion from a California-based computer software company called CyberConnect, prosecutors said.
Dickey, a native of Georgia, stole nearly $1.4 billion by using an illegal takeover of the firm, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said in a news release.
His scheme included using a fictitious company called Digital Domain to take control of CyberConnect in February 2014, then selling the company to another company, Cyclone Software, for $3.9 billion in cash, according to the release.
Dickey had been working as an engineer at Apple, the release said.
He joined CyberConnect at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, in May 2014.
CyberConnect was founded in 2009 by former U.K. computer software engineer John Lattner, who was hired to manage software for the company.
CyberLink, which was acquired by CyberConnect a year later, was set up to be a platform for digital assistants that let people interact with computers remotely.
Cyberlink was used to sell software and support services to companies, including a computer security firm, according the release, which did not identify the companies involved.
After Dickey took over CyberConnect’s operations, he made significant cash gains, prosecutors say.
The company had $2 billion in revenue in 2014 and was valued at about $6 billion by late 2015, according a report from financial services firm FBR Capital Markets.
On March 23, 2014, Dickey made a $1,100 payment to an Apple Pay account connected to a bank account in China and made another $2,500 payment to another Apple Pay bank account connected in Hong Kong, the indictment said.
The next day, Dicky transferred $3,000 to an iPhone and $1 million to an iPad, according U.C.L.A. records.
At the time of the cyberattacks, CyberConnect had nearly 3,500 employees, according company officials.
A company spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Lattners lawyer, Daniel D’Angelo, said his client is happy with the sentence and that he plans to appeal.
“This is a very positive outcome,” he said.
“He is very grateful to the U:S.
justice system and its justice system for bringing him to justice.”
The judge in the case, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, Raul Maza, said the sentence sends a clear message that cybercrime and theft must not be tolerated and the world must learn from the past.
He called cybercrime an “epidemic” and said that criminalizing cybercrime will have negative effects on the economy, society and the internet.
Cybercrime is a growing problem, and it can be addressed by establishing a strong and unified cyber security and anti-cracking structure, Maza said.
The U.D.P.E. and the UCRC report found that cyberattacks were the leading cause of business closures in 2015, a period that included the first major outbreak of the coronavirus.
Cyberattacks accounted for $2 trillion of the total $1 trillion in economic losses in 2015.
Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity firm, has said that it discovered the first publicly available cyberattack in the U and U.R.C., an investigation that began in December.