Sawyer v. Department of Air Force

The Cyber Blog IndiaCase Summary

Reasonability of the appellant's dismissal from the Agency for altering computer contracts and receiving unauthorised records

Sawyer v. Department of Air Force
In the United States Merit Systems Protection Board
Docket Number DE07528610024
Before Ms Maria L. Johnson, Acting Chairman and Mr Dennis M. Devaney, Member
Decided on July 09, 1996

Relevancy of the Case: Reasonability of the appellant’s dismissal from the Agency for altering computer contracts and receiving unauthorised records

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S. Code § 1030

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The Department of Air Force (“Agency”) removed the appellant from his position on October 15, 1985. He was a Supervisory Computer Programmer Analyst.
  • He altered official Air Force computer contracts and received unauthorised agency records. Furthermore, he submitted fraudulent invoices, resulting in $17,738 in US Treasury checks being improperly disbursed to him.
  • Against his dismissal, he filed an appeal with the Board’s Denver Regional Office. The Presiding Officer concluded that the Agency satisfied its burden of proving the charge. The dismissal was within reasonableness, as the appellant’s actions destroyed his credibility within the Agency.

Prominent Arguments by the Counsels

  • The appellant contended that the Agency did not provide the elements of fraud necessary to prove a violation of Section 1030. He engaged in this conduct solely to impress upon the Agency the lack of security safeguards.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The evidence supports the finding that the Agency had reasonable cause to believe that a criminal violation had occurred. In the Presiding Officer’s decision, there is no erroneous interpretation of the relevant provisions.

Final Decision

  • The Board held the Presiding Officer’s decision, with an option for the appellant to seek judicial review under 5 U.S.C. § 7703.

Anjali Agrawal, an undergraduate student at the NALSAR University of Law, prepared this case summary during her internship with The Cyber Blog India in May/June 2022.