Almost every member of a California city’s finance department has been placed on leave and one has been placed under arrest following a probe into a data breach.
The city of Huntington Park launched an investigation after becoming aware of a “large-scale security breach of electronic financial records at Huntington Park City Hall” that was “intercepted and contained” by staff in the city’s information technology department.
Personal information belonging to Huntington Park city residents is not believed to have been compromised in the data breach, according to city officials. However, the city did say that the investigation into what records were accessed or exposed remains ongoing.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, a statement issued by the city on April 14 said that the data breach had triggered a criminal investigation by the Huntington Park Police Department (HPPD).
On April 8, HPPD arrested a 48-year-old city employee and charged them with carrying out a felony offense in connection with the data breach.
Los Cerritos reports that the city’s budget analyst, Teresa Garcia, was arrested and booked into Los Angeles County Jail at 8:30pm on April 8 on suspicion of identity theft and unauthorized computer access.
Garcia, who has worked for the department for over a decade, is due to appear before Downey Municipal Court on August 9.
On Monday, five other finance department employees were escorted from City Hall by police and placed on leave, leading to the closure of the department on Monday and Tuesday.
City Mayor Graciela Ortiz confirmed that an arrest had been made and said that the data breach had impacted confidential information belonging to an employee.
“As an elected official, I do not handle personnel matters, that is the role of the City Administrators,” said Ortiz. “However, I can tell you that a serious data breach of confidential data, that includes employee’s identity information, was performed by an employee in the City’s finance department and was discovered by the city’s police department, and the investigation and case was turned over to an independent agency, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which resulted in the arrest of the employee.”
She added: “Finance staff was placed on temporary paid administrative leave to maximize the integrity of the on-going Sheriff investigation.”