Coast Guardsman Found Guilty of Passing Confidential Information

From the Virginia Pilot – HamptonRoads.com

A federal court jury convicted a Coast Guard petty officer of three misdemeanors related to passing confidential information on illegal immigration investigations to his girlfriend who works for a fishing company that employed undocumented workers.

The jury, however, found Morris Wade Hughes not guilty of a more serious felony conspiracy charge. The verdict was handed down Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Hughes, 50, of Chesapeake, was indicted in December on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, unauthorized access of government computers and unlawful disclosure of confidential information.

According to the indictment, Hughes had an affair from 2003 to 2006 with Michelle Peabody, whose family runs the Peabody Corp., a commercial fishing company based in Newport News. During that time, Hughes accessed the Coast Guard’s computer and passed to Peabody confidential information regarding a probe into undocumented workers in the fishing industry.

Hughes is scheduled for sentencing on Jun 2.

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