An IT worker for the city of Hoboken, New Jersey, has been charged with intercepting the mayor’s emails and forwarding them to other officials.
Patrick Ricciardi, who has worked for the city since 1992, faces up to fifteen years in prison on charges of illegally accessing a computer, intercepting communications and disclosing them to another person.
According to a criminal complaint from FBI special agent Christian Schorle, city employees became suspicious that the contents of their emails were being leaked to outside parties in April 2011.
The mayor’s office hired a private company, which found an unauthorised email archive on Ricciardi’s computer, the complaint claims. The defendant is alleged to have used his administrative privileges to direct the mayor’s emails to his computer.
"As part of the investigation, law enforcement learned that the city’s political culture is currently divided into two main factions," the complaint reports. "The current mayor was sworn in to office as acting mayor on or about July 31, 2009, after the previous mayor was arrested on federal corruption charges."
"Many of the elected and appointed officials in the city retain strong ties to the previous administration or are otherwise politically opposed to the mayor, and have sparred with the current mayor on a variety of municipal issues, large and small."