Business & Finance
08:28 PM

Prosecutors: UBS Sys Admin Believed 'He Had Created The Perfect Crime'

Defendant Roger Duronio, a former UBS PaineWebber employee charged with planting a logic bomb that crippled his former employer's network, was a dangerous combination of disgruntled employee and a man in financial straits, prosecutors said in closing arguments to the jury.

NEWARK, N.J.--In closing arguments, the prosecution told the jury Monday that the former systems administrator accused of planting a logic bomb on the UBS PaineWebber network four years ago thought he had committed the perfect crime -- mixing revenge with a scheme to cash in on the destruction he was causing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mauro Wolfe gave his closing arguments to the jury in U.S. District Court here for more than two hours Monday. He told jurors that Roger Duronio, the defendant in this computer sabotage case, was the man with the motive, the means, and the ability to do the crime. And on top of that, copies of the trigger for the logic bomb were found in his home.

Duronio faces four federal criminal charges in connection with the March 4, 2002, attack on UBS that took down nearly 2,000 servers and crippled its brokers' ability to do business. The trial has moved into its sixth week. The defense will have its turn at closing arguments Tuesday morning, and then the government will have an opportunity for a shorter rebuttal argument.

"In [Duronio's] mind, this was a gold mine," Wolfe told the jury. "The person who planted the logic bomb is the same person who intended to profit from it. ... Let's make it clear. We submit to you ... the person who committed this crime is sitting right there. It's Roger Duronio."

Wolfe walked the jury through five weeks worth of witnesses and the evidence they presented. Laying out the government's case, he said Duronio was a dangerous combination of disgruntled employee and a man in financial straits. And those two aspects intersected when Duronio learned in the fall of 2001 that he would not be receiving the maximum annual bonus that he had been expecting. Needing the money for his son's tuition at NYU, an angry Duronio began building the code that would punish UBS at the same time it created a windfall for him and his family.

"Roger Duronio believed he was entitled to a certain compensation, even though the company wasn't doing well after Sept. 11," said Wolfe. "He still felt he was entitled. He was better than everybody. He was smarter than everybody."

Wolfe reminded the jury about the testimony of Rajeev Khanna, manager for UBS's Unix Systems Group at the time of the attack. Khanna had told the jury that Duronio went to him in 2000, saying he had "cash flow problems" and asking for a pay increase. Khanna said he had liked Duronio and went to bat for him, even though it was midyear and an unusual time to ask for, or give out, a pay raise. Khanna got Duronio a $10,000 bump in salary. But Wolfe was quick Monday to remind the jury that Duronio had not been satisfied with it.

"It wasn't good enough," Wolfe told the jury. "The seeds were planted. He wasn't happy with what he was taking home."

Feb. 22, 2002, was the day the bonuses were handed out and for Duronio, it was the last straw, according to Wolfe.

Duronio's bonus was about $15,000 shy of the maximum. While that meant he would take home about $160,000 that year, it was not the full $175,000 he had wanted. Angry, he went to Khanna and demanded a contract for the full $175,000, telling his supervisor that without a contract that very day, he would quit his job, Khanna testified earlier in the trial. The supervisor tried to get Duronio the contract but it didn't go through and when he went to tell the bad news to Duronio, Khanna saw that his systems administrator had already packed his things and was ready to leave.

The discrepancy in Duronio's bonus was roughly the same as Duronio's son's school tuition, Wolfe said. "Maybe that's why he's upset. That's the motive, ladies and gentlemen," he said.

Pain And Profit

But Wolfe said Duronio had been expecting this day for many months before. And he had been plotting out the course he would take.

The November and December before Duronio quit his job, he systematically went to work building the logic bomb, according to the government.

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