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Crime & Courts

Nurse accused of hacking into emails of Pasco sheriff, top officials

From staff reports
Published:   |   Updated: August 27, 2013 at 06:54 PM

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LAND O’ LAKES — A nurse at the Land O’ Lakes Jail was fired and faces criminal charges after she was accused of hacking the email accounts of Sheriff Chris Nocco and other high-ranking administrators, the sheriff’s office reported.

Diedre Devonne Fitzgerald, 24, of Spring Hill, was booked into the jail Tuesday morning on three counts of crimes against a computer user, an arrest report said. She was later released on $15,000 bail.

“The Pasco Sheriff’s Office will hold its members accountable for their actions,” Nocco said in a prepared statement. “The integrity of our agency is critical in maintaining a high level of trust with our citizens who we serve.”

Fitzgerald, without authorization and using a nurse’s station laptop computer, was able to access password-protected email accounts of Nocco, Maj. Ed Beckman and Dalia Hernandez-Gibson, the sheriff’s office’s director of medical services, her arrest report said. Fitzgerald told an investigator that she wanted to gain access to confidential agency material, the report said.

Witnesses said Fitzgerald boasted about her ability to hack the accounts and even demonstrated to them how she could do it, the report said. Network activity for the laptop showed the email accounts were accessed during Fitzgerald’s shift and while she was logged into her own email on the same computer, the report said.

Fitzgerald worked at the jail for one year and 10 months.

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