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Virginia Man Sentenced for Hacking Fannie Mae-Run Website

computerA Virginia man has been sentenced for illegally accessing government servers that hosted a Fannie Mae website used to support federal mortgage loan modification programs, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) announced on Friday.

Sathish Kumar Chandhun Rajendran, 36, of Sterling, Virginia, pleaded guilty in July to unauthorized access to a protected computer causing damage. For his sentence, he received three years of supervised released and was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and pay $69,638 in restitution. As part of the sentence, Rajendran was ordered to turn over the laptop with which he committed the offense to the government, and he will be required to write and publish an article online featuring details of his offense and its seriousness, the effect it has had on Rajendran and his family, and explaining why others should not engage in similar behavior. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III presided over Rajendran's sentencing hearing.

Also as part of his plea agreement, Rajendran agreed not to participate as an employee, contractor, or subcontractor in any government contract that requires clearance for a period of three years.

Court documents show that Rajendran worked at Fannie Mae as an information technology term employee, during which time he was assigned to the development of www.CheckMyNPV.com, a website established by the U.S. Department of Treasury and the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Dodd-Frank and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The site contains a tool that allows users to check the net present value of their homes and determine their eligibility for a refinance under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which is designed to help struggling homeowners who are facing foreclosure and is part of the government's Making Home Affordable (MHA) program. The website was operated by Fannie Mae.

Rajendran's employment from Fannie Mae was terminated in August 2013, yet he continued to use his credentials to make unauthorized changes to the CheckMyNPV website, including disabling the tool that allows homeowners to check the net present value of their homes and determine their HAMP eligibility. Court records show that Rajendran's actions caused $69,638 in damages and losses to the website.

"Rajendran, a former federal IT contractor, crashed the functionality of www.CheckMyNPV.com which  temporarily prevented struggling homeowners from using the site’s ‘net present value’ calculator to determine their eligibility for TARP’s housing program, HAMP,” SIGTARP Christy Romero said in a press release. "Those who stand in the way of homeowners getting the help they seek and need through HAMP will be held accountable and brought to justice by SIGTARP and our law enforcement partners."

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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