ATHENS, Ga. -- A former employee of the University of Georgia registrar’s office was charged Friday with 61 counts of felony fraud that allege he accessed personal data in the office on at least 160 students to obtain credit cards.
Derrick Leon Henderson, 30, of Athens, is charged with 42 counts of identity fraud and 19 counts of financial card fraud, UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said.
“He was employed at the registrar’s office and had access to paper documents,” Williamson said. “He would open up credit cards in his name and use other people’s personal information.”
Williamson took care to note that the incident didn’t involve computer hacking.
“There was no electronic breach of our software or hardware or any electronic system,” he said. “This was an employee who had access to paper records as part of their job.”
Police are also looking at another person as a suspect, Williamson said.
UGA police obtained search warrants and searched Henderson’s home on Jan. 31. On Wednesday, an investigator with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Henderson for identity fraud and card fraud based on a complaint filed by a UGA student who lives in Hoschton, according to the sheriff’s office.
During the search of Henderson’s home, officers seized all of his electronic devices, Williamson said.
“We feel confident we have narrowed our victim exposure to 160 people,” he said.
Henderson was using the fraudulent credit cards to purchase clothing, shoes and electronics, Williamson said.
“Through our investigation, we feel like we have recovered the majority, if not all of the data,” he said.
UGA officials are notifying each of the victims about the breach.
“The police were able to identify specifically the people affected and a letter will go to each of them individually,” UGA spokesman Tom Jackson said.
In addition, Williamson said police have been calling some of the victims.
Henderson was not registered as a student this semester, but he was a student in 2013 when he was hired in the registrar’s office for a job that entailed digitizing paper files, according to Jackson.
Henderson has since been fired, Jackson said.
The investigation started after students began filing reports about credit card fraud. Also, Williamson said, reports began coming in from such places as the Neiman Marcus fraud unit.