A CEO and founder of a software company targeted by election deniers was recently arrested on suspicion of stealing hundreds of Los Angeles County poll workers’ data.
Eugene Yu of Konnech Corporation was arrested in Michigan and is being held on suspicion of personal identity theft. At the same time, “digital evidence” and computer hard drives were seized by Meridian County district attorney’s office investigators, according to the office. According to local prosecutors, they will seek his extradition to California.
“We are continuing to ascertain the details of what we believe to be Mr. Yu’s wrongful detention by LA County authorities…Any LA County poll worker data that Konnech may have possessed was provided to it by LA County and therefore could not have been ‘stolen’ as suggested,” said Konnech Corporation in a statement.
Based in East Lansing, Michigan, Konnech is a small company that in 2020, won a five-year, $2.9 million contract with Los Angeles County to provide software to track payroll, communications, election worker schedules, and training, according to Dean C. Logan, LA county clerk/registrar-recorder.
While Konnech is required to keep its data in the U.S. and only provide access to permanent residents and citizens, instead, it stored personal identity information on servers in the People’s Republic of China, according to the District Attorney’s office.
While the DA’s office didn’t pinpoint the specific information that was allegedly stolen, officials said it only involved poll workers, not vote counts or voting machines, and had no effect on election results.
“But security in all aspects of any election is essential so that we all have full faith in the integrity of the election process,” said George Gascon, LA County District Attorney, in a statement.
“With the midterm General Election 35 days away, our focus remains on ensuring the administration of this election is not disrupted,” said Logan in another statement.
DA office maintains: No evidence of theft of election data
According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, there is no evidence that any election worker was extorted or bribed, and was investigating whether or not any personal identity information landed into inappropriate hands.
Konnech Corporation previously asserted that all information for American customers was kept secure and stored in the United States, according to a report by the New York Times. The paper reported that Yu, born in China, and Konnech have become a target of election conspiracy theorists who claim both Yu and the company supplied information on two million poll workers and had secret ties to the Chinese Community Party.
According to the Times, Yu went into hiding after receiving threats, although there may be no evidence to support the claims.
Konnech Corporation also contracts with DeKalb County, Georgia, and Allen County, Indiana, and claims on its website that it currently has 32 clients in North America.