Lawsuit Alleging Tyco Integrated Security at Fault in Massive Pharmaceutical Heist Gets Underway
Lawyers for Eli Lilly blame lax control over computer data allowed burglars to steal more than $60 million of drugs in 2010.
MIAMI – Opening arguments were held Monday in a civil lawsuit that alleges Tyco Integrated Security inadequately protected computer data that enabled thieves to use detailed security schematics to break into a pharmaceutical warehouse and steal more than $60 million of drugs in 2010.
The heist in Enfield, Conn., is thought to have been the largest pharmaceutical theft ever and the suit, with its demand for $45 million in recovery, is expected to incite further examination by corporations to safeguard their networks and sensitive data.
The insurer for Eli Lilly, National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, is trying to prove that lax control over confidential data by TycoIS, then known as ADT Security Services, allowed a Cuban crime ring to carry out the audacious theft, as well as similar warehouse robberies in Florida, Texas and Illinois.
The sophisticated thieves cut through the Enfield warehouse roof in the middle of the night, avoiding motion detectors and other security equipment. They backed a tractor-trailer rig into the only one of seven loading bays not covered by video surveillance cameras, loaded it with tens of millions of dollars’ worth of cancer drugs and other pharmaceuticals, and then disappeared.
The case is pending before U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida in Miami. The complaint states:
“Defendants Amaury Villa and Amed Villa crossed the entire length of the roof of the distribution warehouse to arrive at a small area comprising less than 1% of the total surface area of the roof. This location was identified on the 2010 ADT/TYCO Confidential System Proposal as above an area unmonitored by the existing security equipment and adjacent to the MCC room which was identified in the 2010 ADT/TYCO Confidential System Proposal by “x” and “y” coordinates as requiring additional intrusion detection devices and cameras.”
According to the complaint, the burglars rappelled “from the small location on the roof to the unmonitored area of the warehouse and accessed the MCC room undetected by monitoring equipment and disabled the existing security systems master controls, telecommunications systems and cell batteries to the back-up communications systems.”
The same Cuban thieves were ultimately charged in all four burglaries. The thieves appear to have used inside information to bypass elaborate security systems maintained by TycoIS.
National Union originally wanted to sue in Connecticut in 2013, but due to the state’s two-year statute of limitations they instead filed in Florida where TycoIS was headquartered and maintained its computer servers. The insurer’s lawyers allege the Enfield heist was the result of a computer security breach in Florida that gave the Florida-based criminals access to security schematics at warehouses around the country.
An initial trial date was scheduled for Feb. 9, 2015; however, multiple delays arose.
According to court documents obtained by SSI, TycoIS made several attempts to get testimony from both burglars, who are brothers, and finally did so for Amaury Villa in June 2015. TycoIS was precluded from obtaining substantive testimony from Amed Villa, who has not been sentenced for the burglary of the Enfield facility and has expressed his intent to invoke the Fifth Amendment should he be required to testify prior to sentencing. This led the court to again grant TycoIS continuances in July and October 2015 to allow for the introduction of Amed Villa’s testimony.
On Feb. 25 of this year, Judge Bloom issued an order denying further continuance, stating the delays had led “this case to its breaking point” and set the March 21 trial date to begin opening arguments.
TycoIS has vigorously disputed all of the suit’s contentions. The company declined an interview request by SSI, stating via its public relations firm that it does not comment publicly on matters of ongoing investigation.
You can read more about the case here.
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