Bay Area/ Oakland/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 14, 2024
Ex-Tracy Techie Gets House Arrest for Digital Sabotage of Discovery Bay Water SupplySource: Google Street View

A former Tracy resident has been served a sentence of half a year in house arrest and a three-year probation stretch for a cyber attack that caused a serious malfunction at the Discovery Bay Water Treatment Facility. Rambler Gallo, 53, was handed the sentence by United States District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr., following a guilty plea to charges of intentional damage to the facility's computer network.

With one being a trusted employee, Gallo turned against his employer, a Massachusetts-based contractor, by installing remote access software on his computer and the company's network. This betrayal culminated in his unauthorized entry into the facility's systems nearly five weeks after his resignation from Company A. His digital incursion voided critical operating software integral to the Town of Discovery Bay's water safety, as detailed by an announcement by U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp of the FBI.

The depraved act was more than just a button click; it was a gross violation of public trust, threatening the welfare of 15,000 citizens reliant on water treatment operations for clean, safe water. The software that fell victim to Gallo's sabotage was pivotal in maintaining the water pressure, filtration, and chemical balances in the community's water supply. Discovery Bay employees were able to contain the potential threat, ensuring no lasting harm to the water treatment system, as stated by governmental filings.

Gallo's calculated online rampage prompted a federal grand jury to indict him on June 27, 2023, for a felony breach under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(5)(A) and (c)(4)(B)(i). His guilty plea resulted in an order by Judge Gilliam for the forfeiture of his computer and the payment of $44,250 in restitution. The delicate work of prosecuting this significant case was carried out by Assistant United States Attorney Cynthia Frey with assistance from staffers Kathy Tat and Kevin Costello, according to a statement obtained by the U.S. Attorney's Office.