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Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Is Your Company Prepared to Aggressively Go After Computer Hackers?

Speaker(s): Nick Akerman
Recorded on: Apr. 29, 2014
PLI Program #: 56134

A partner in Dorsey’s New York Office, Nick Akerman is a trial lawyer specializing in both complex civil and criminal cases. He has a well-established expertise on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Statute (RICO), securities fraud, state and federal trade secret laws and post employment restrictive covenants.

Prior to private practice Nick served as a federal prosecutor. He was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted a wide array of white collar criminal matters, including bank frauds, bankruptcy frauds, stock frauds, complex financial frauds, environmental and tax crimes. Nick was also an Assistant Special Watergate Prosecutor with the Watergate Special Prosecution Force under Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski.

He is a nationally recognized expert on computer crime and the protection of competitively sensitive information and computer data. Nick regularly obtains injunctions for his clients under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in various federal courts around the country requiring computer thieves to return stolen computer data and prohibiting the dissemination of the data to competitors. He also consults with clients in developing systems, policies and protocols to protect computer data.

Nick speaks and writes regularly on protecting computer data, including in his regular computer data column for the National Law Journal. He has been a featured quoted expert on computer fraud and computer security issues in the New York Times, USA Today, the San Jose Mercury News, the Boston Globe, the St. Louis Dispatch, the Sacramento Bee, Forbes, ComputerWorld, CFO Magazine, CNET, CNET Japan, ZDNet, MSN, Internet Week and the Weekly Homeland Security Newsletter. His blog can be found at

Representative Litigation
Complex Commercial Litigation

  • Represented Lockheed Martin Corp. in a trade secrets and computer fraud case in Lockheed Martin v, L-3 Communications, Inc., 6:05 CV 1580 ORL 31KRS
  • Represented Lockheed Martin Corp. on RICO claims in Lockheed Martin v. The Boeing Company, 6:03CV 796 ORL 28 KRS
  • $1 million jury verdict in a RICO, libel and slander case affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Securitron Magnalock v. Schnabolk, 65 F.3d 256 (2d Cir. 1995)
  • Libel defense for media publications. Stover v. Journal Pub. Co., 105 N.M. 291, 731 P.2d 1335 (N.M. App. 1985)
  • Whistleblower cases. Rodgers v. Lenox Hill Hosp., 251 A.D.2d 244, 674 N.Y.S.2d 670 (N.Y.A.D. 1st Dep’t 1998)
  • Contract disputes. Carte Blanche (Singapore PTE., Ltd.) v. Diners Club Intern., Inc., 758 F. Supp. 908 (S.D.N.Y. 1991)
  • Insurance coverage disputes. See e.g. Journal Pub. Co. v. American Home Assur. Co., 771 F. Supp. 632 (S.D.N.Y. 1991)
  • Defamation. See e.g. Criales v. American Airlines, Inc., 1999 WL 1487601 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 28, 1999)

Protection of Trade Secrets and Computer Data

  • First preliminary injunction under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act relating to the entry of a company database through a public Web site using the company’s confidential and proprietary information. EF Cultural Travel BV v. Explorica, Inc., 274 F.3d 577(1st Cir. 2001)
  • Over 15 injunctions for clients under the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
  • Over 40 injunctions enforcing post-employment restrictive covenants for The Prudential Insurance Company of America. Prudential Ins. Co. of America v. Barone, 1998 WL 269065 (W.D.N.Y. May 9, 1998)
  • Injunctions enforcing covenants not to compete. Garber Bros., Inc. v. Evlek, 122 F.Supp.2d 375 (E.D.N.Y. 2000)
  • Assist companies in designing and reviewing corporate compliance programs. As part of this program, advise corporations on designing programs to protect intellectual property, trade secrets and computer data. Have conducted a trade secrets audit of a major national health insurance company to assist the company in establishing systems, agreements and procedures to protect its confidential and proprietary and trade secret protected information.

Internal Investigations

  • Conduct and direct internal investigations for corporate clients into allegations of internal fraud and theft including a well-publicized investigation in Chicago into allegations of abuse of corporate assets by the President of Florsheim. In many instances these investigations have resulted in RICO actions being filed against the wrongdoers. CNBC, Inc. v. Alvarado , 1994 WL 445717, RICO Bus. Disp. Guide 8629 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 17, 1994)

White Collar Representations

  • Have represented numerous corporations and individuals under criminal investigation by the United State Department of Justice for complex commercial and tax crimes. Defended numerous criminal cases in federal court including the acquittal of all defendants by a jury in United States v. Stella , 1990 WL 128918 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 27, 1990).

Federal Prosecution Experience

  • Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) from 1975 until 1983. Prosecuted a wide array of white collar criminal matters including bank frauds, bankruptcy frauds, stock frauds, complex financial frauds, environmental crimes and tax crimes. First prosecutor in the SDNY to use the RICO statute to prosecute traditional white collar criminal offenses. Tried over 25 cases before juries including successful prosecutions of Mafia bosses Russell Bufalino and Frank Tieri, and the RICO prosecution of ten individuals predicated on securities fraud and bankruptcy fraud violations for the formation and operations of The Westchester Premier Theater. United States v. Weisman , 624 F.2d 1118 (2d Cir. 1980)
  • Assistant Special Watergate Prosecutor with the Watergate Special Prosecution Force from 1973 to 1975. Conducted grand jury investigations into misuse of federal agencies and other allegations of criminal conduct related to the break-in at Democratic National Headquarters. Examined all of the principals in the Watergate scandal before the various Watergate grand juries.
  • February 2009 Dorsey Symposium for Corporate Leaders - Securing Electronic Business Information: Do You Know What You May Be Missing?
  • March 2008 Directors Round Table - Corporate Digital Assets: Protecting the Secrets of Success
  • February 2008 - Current Issues in White Collar Litigation
  • Association of Corporate Counsel
    • June 2007 - Annual Meeting and Ethics Marathon
    • October 2007 - Protecting Your Corporate Data: Using Self-Help and Taking Protective Measures
    • December 2005 - Ethics Marathon
    • November 2005 - Corporate Counsel Community Forum

Professional Activities

  • Testified Before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Organized Crime
  • Faculty Member of the Practicing Law Institute on Personal Liability for Environmental Violations (1991)

  • Named "New York Super Lawyer," 2009 - 2013
  • Special Commendations by the Department of Justice in 1979 and 1981 for Outstanding Achievements

  • University of Massachusetts (B.A., 1969), magna cum laude
    Phi Beta Kappa
  • Harvard Law School (J.D., 1972), cum laude


  • Massachusetts
  • New York

Related Services

  • Antitrust and Competition Law
  • White Collar Crime and Civil Fraud
  • Corporate Governance and Compliance
  • Anti-Corruption Group
  • Data and Computer Technology
  • Educational Publishing, Technology & Services
  • Privacy and Social Media