A former employee of the U.S. Department of State pleaded guilty Monday to illegally accessing hundreds of confidential passport application files, including files of celebrities, politicians, athletes and members of the media, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Lawrence C. Yontz, 48, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty before U.S.
Yontz faces a maximum sentence of
Recent news reports of unauthorized access to passport files, including those of U.S. presidential candidates, have led to U.S. lawmakers calling for stricter controls at the State Department.
Between September 1987 and April 1996, Yontz served as a
The imaged passport applications on PIERS contain a photograph of the passport applicant and personal information including the applicant's full name, date and place of birth, current
Yontz acknowledged that between February 2005 and March 2008, he logged onto the PIERS database and viewed the passport applications of approximately 200 celebrities, athletes, actors, politicians, musicians, game-show contestants, members of the media, prominent business professionals, colleagues, associates, neighbors and individuals identified in the press, the DOJ said in a press release.
In his plea, Yontz admitted that he had no official government reason to access and view these passport applications, but that his sole purpose in accessing and viewing these passport applications was curiosity, the DOJ said.