Arrest made in Altria laptop case

January 11, 2007

Chip Jones

New York police have arrested a security officer in the theft of five laptops containing the names of about 18,000 past and present employees of Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA in Richmond.

Altria spokeswoman Lisa Gonzalez said Philip Morris has sent e-mails and letters to many of its 6,300 area employees whose names, social security numbers and other pension-related information were found on the stolen computers.

The theft occurred in late November in the New York City offices of Towers Perrin, which handles pension and benefit consulting for Altria. Employees at other branches of the company, including Kraft Foods and Philip Morris International, also have been notified.

Altria and Towers Perrin waited to inform the affected employees until after police made an arrest on Dec. 28. Towers Perrin said in its letter that "we have no reason to believe that your information has been misused."

Dewayne Rivers, 30, of Brooklyn, has been charged in the theft. Rivers worked as chief information security officer at the Towers Perrin offices, according to a police report.

Rivers was released Dec. 28 on $10,000 bail and has an April 5 court date, a spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney's office said today.

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