MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The FBI believe a Collierville man hacked into a computer system and tried to steal the personal information of autistic children, who are treated at a center in Bartlett.
Investigators say those kids and their parents trusted the man, because he used to work there.
"A horrible person there's no other way to put it." That's how executive director Tracy Palm from Transformations Autism Treatment Center describes her former employee.
Palm has spent 11 years building this small non-profit and she never thought she'd be dealing with this.
Palm told FOX13 she was very shocked with what happened.
"It was very shocking because we expect everyone that we deal with in any kind of fashion to be professional," she said.
Jeffrey Luke was employed by the center for two years as a behavior analyst working directly with children.
Palm said he was fired in February then in March she noticed something strange on their secure computer system.
"Someone had hacked into our online system we still have no idea how they did that," Palm told FOX13.
The hacker had access to all personal patient information including social security numbers, so Palm immediately called police and notified the 300 clients, past and present, that their information had been compromised.
"We are so incredibly devastated and sorry to even have to notify somebody that that has taken place," she said.
Investigators traced the hack to an IP address at Luke's Collierville home. A neighbor took some cell phone video in April when heavily armed FBI agents raided the place.
James Hamm, a neighbor, said he was also blown away with all this.
"It was a total shock to me it was like watching a movie or something i just never say never expected anything like that 20," Hamm said.
The FBI said while analyzing the hard drive taken from Lukes' home, they found personal client information from a separate treatment facility, his previous employer in Somerville.
"He was accused of doing at this last place of employment did you know that? No, I did not know that, that never showed up," Palm told FOX13.
Palm said they put employees through extensive background checks and everything came back clean with Luke. So now she just hopes the accused hacker pays for preying on a place that has the best interest of children at heart.
Transformations director told FOX13 they are doing all they can to make their online system even more secure. Investigators believe the center caught the hack quickly enough, Luke didn't have the chance to use the information.
There's no word on if Luke has been charged because right now the case is sealed.
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