21:32 GMT06 August 2020
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    A Sharon, Massachusetts, man pleaded guilty Friday to willfully retaining US national defense information to which he had access through his job at a defense contractor.

    According to a press release by the US Department of Justice, Ahmedelhadi Yassin Serageldin, 66, admitted to keeping classified national defense information he obtained from his former employer - defense contractor Raytheon - in his home. Serageldin pleaded guilty before Chief United States District Judge Patti B. Saris on Friday. 

    During the plea hearing, the unidentified prosecutor said that federal agents discovered thousands of physical and electronic documents that belong to Raytheon and the US Department of Defense while conducting a search warrant in Serageldin’s home. The files were classified at the “secret” level.

    Serageldin, who is an Egyptian-born American citizen, was indicted and arrested in November 2018 for “misleading conduct with intent to hinder, delay, or prevent communications to a law enforcement officer relating to the commission or possible commission of a federal offense,” the press release explains.

    The indictment claimed that Serageldin was employed as a systems engineer at Raytheon in Massachusetts from August 1997 until May 2017, when he was fired. During his employment at the firm, he had a secret-level security clearance because he worked on defense contracts related to US military radar technology. 

    Raytheon began investigating Serageldin in 2017 on suspicion of time-card fraud, an offense in which an employee pretends to work hours they did not work to gain additional income. Through that investigation, the company found that Serageldin “had downloaded a substantial number of files from Raytheon’s computer network and had connected removable electronic storage devices to the network in violation of Raytheon’s security policy,” the press release states. It’s unclear if Raytheon began investigating Serageldin before or after his termination.

    The indictment also states that during Raytheon’s investigation, Serageldin participated in “misleading conduct to hinder, delay, or prevent Raytheon employees from communicating with law enforcement about his time-card fraud and his potential mishandling and retention of classified information and national defense information.”

    Serageldin’s sentencing is scheduled to take place on April 14, 2020. The charge for retaining such documents carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or “twice the gain or loss, whichever is greatest, restitution, and forfeiture,” according to the DoJ release.

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    Tags:
    Indictment, Department of Justice, classified information
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