A man who was laid off after working 16 years for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise is accused of shutting down Oregon’s Medicaid system computers for a day as a last act of retaliation.
Hossein Heydari entered a not guilty plea Thursday to a federal indictment charging him with computer fraud.
Heydari, who lives in Maryland, was responsible at Hewlett-Packard for providing technical support for Oregon’s Medicaid Management Information System. The system allows physicians, pharmacies and patients to exchange eligibility information for care, prescriptions and benefits provided by Medicaid and managed by the Oregon Health Authority.
Heydari also was assigned to the Medicaid computer management systems for three other states.
On Oct. 14, 2016, Hewlett-Packard gave Heydari notice that he’d be laid off in two weeks as part of a “work-force reduction.”
About two weeks later on Halloween, Heydari is accused of intentionally altering Oregon’s Medicaid computer system, “shutting Oregon Health Authority’s computers for a day,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Bradford said.
The indictment alleges that crashing the computer system caused more than $5,000 in losses to Hewlett-Packard and the Oregon Health Authority and threatened public health by jeopardizing Medicaid recipients’ medical care.
Heydari turned himself in to federal authorities on an arrest warrant in Maryland on Aug. 25. He’s out of custody and flew to Oregon to make his federal court appearance in Portland.
The prosecutor asked that a judge add conditions to his pretrial release supervision, including restrictions on his computer use and a requirement that Heydari notify future employers of the federal indictment pending.
Heydari’s defense lawyer, T.J. Hester, objected, saying Heydari is presumed innocent and the allegation doesn’t suggest Heydari benefited financially in any way from the offense charged. Heydari remains unemployed, living in Maryland with his wife and a child who attends high school, Hester said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Youlee Yim You said Heydari wouldn’t have to notify an employer of the charge he faces, but would have to inform a pretrial services officer once he obtains another job. The pretrial services officer also will be able to monitor Heydari’s internet activity, the judge said.
— Maxine Bernstein