MSP Charged With Extortion After Cutting IT Services for Non-Payment
A Georgia MSP owner is free on $13,555 bond after being charged with allegedly shutting off IT access to a client who terminated a three-year services contract after one year, then stopped paying, according to a report in Forsyth County News.
James “Jim” Darian Kubicek, 48, was arrested Friday on felony charges of extortion, computer theft and computer trespass, following a complaint by the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.
Kubicek’s firm, Kubicek Information Technologies, provided IT services to the chamber of commerce, according to Kubicek and officials from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
When the chamber engaged another firm towards the end of 2016 and stopped paying Kubicek, the MSP allegedly cut off chamber users’ access to Office 365, including all emails, calendars, contacts and task management tools.
The chamber remained without Office 365 for 10 days, until the data could be restored by the new MSP.
“All of the files on our server were secured and there were no breaches of personal information, credit card numbers, etc.,” chamber president and CEO James McCoy is quoted as telling the newspaper. “In fact, the server was taken offline immediately until we were certain it could be secured.”
Kubicek insists he did nothing wrong.
He acknowledged withdrawing sponsorship deals from the chamber and that he “shut off the services they refused to pay for,” according to the Forsyth County News.
“I do that with any client that refuses to pay their bill,” Kubicek is quoted as saying.
The MSP accused the chamber of quitting the contract early in order to go with a less expensive IT services deal.
Kubicek said he has hired a civil lawyer to pursue $78,000, which he alleges he’s owed by the chamber.
“I have absolutely no doubt that these trumped-up charges will be dismissed,” he said.
Kubicek is scheduled to appear in court on March 10.
In the meantime, the episode has caused the chamber to pay closer attention to its IT services.
“We made improvements to ensure that if any changes to ownership of accounts with Microsoft Office 365 or any of our IT accounts or our domain are made in the future, that we are notified,” McCoy said. “And we will conduct regular audits of those accounts.”
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