The head of a Cambridge, MA, peptide synthesis company faces a felony computer trespass charge following his arrest last week by New York State Police.
James Burton, 52, of Delmar, NY, was arrested Oct. 10 after police discovered that he used a limited administrator account to change other account passwords without authorization. Police said Burton was working for the New York State Office of Information Technology Services at its Albany offices on Swan Street, as a private contractor through a contract with C&C Consulting.
The limited administrator account was immediately disabled upon discovery of Burton's action, which was unauthorized. An investigation is continuing, police said.
According to New York state law, a person is guilty of computer trespass when he or she "knowingly uses, causes to be used, or accesses a computer, computer service, or computer network without authorization" and either does so with intent to commit, attempt to commit, or further the commission of any felony-;or simply knowingly gains access to computer material as a result of the unauthorized access.
In New York state, computer trespass is a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of $5,000 or double the defendant's gain from committing the crime, whichever is higher.
Burton is listed on his LinkedIn page as CEO of Psyche Pharmaceuticals, a company specializing in the chemical synthesis of peptides and proteins by the excluded protecting group method. Many of Psyche's syntheses are carried out for for-profit companies, according to the company's website.
Psyche was established in 2005 near Albany in Rensselaer, NY, and later moved to Cambridge, MA.
Burton was issued an appearance ticket scheduled today for Albany City Court.
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