Chinese Programmer Pleads Guilty to Theft of Treasury Department Code


Chinese computer programmer Bo Zhang pled guilty on May 29 to stealing source code for the U.S. Treasury Department's Government-Wide Accounting and Reporting Program (GWA) from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Zhang also pled guilty to engaging in immigration fraud.

"The GWA software application, worth $9.5 million, is owned by the U.S. Treasury Department, and tracks U.S. government finances," writes Dark Reading's Kelly Jackson Higgins. "It handles ledger accounting within Treasury and account statements to federal agency bank customers. The source code is housed in 'an access-controlled' database at the Federal Reserve Board of New York, where it's under further development by the bank, according to the Justice Department."

"Zhang was hired as a contract employee in May 2011 by an unnamed technology consulting company used by the New York Fed to work on its computers, court documents said," writes Reuters' Basil Katz. "According to an April cooperation agreement with Zhang, Manhattan federal prosecutors recommended he be sentenced to one to 1-1/2 years in prison, much less than the potential 10-year maximum term the theft charge carries."

"In an April 12 plea agreement released ... by prosecutors, the parties agreed that federal sentencing guidelines, which aren’t binding, call for Zhang to get from 12 to 18 months in prison plus a fine of $3,000 to $30,000," write Bloomberg's Bob Van Voris and Patricia Hurtado. "His guilty pleas make it 'very likely' he’ll be deported, according to the plea agreement."