New York Gallery Accuses Former Director of Stealing Client Data and Trade Secrets

by Veriato | Jan 25, 2019

A lawsuit filed this month in New York federal district court by Lehmann Maupin Gallery alleges the former employee committed data theft, deletion, and manipulation to her own financial gain.

When an employee leaves, there is always the concern that they may take information with them. But, if what the New York gallery accuses Bona Yoo of doing when she left their employment, the woman went to great lengths to not just steal data, but to hurt the business she left.

According to the lawsuit, Yoo, who left the gallery to work as a sales director at a competing gallery, took steps to copy client information before leaving.

It gets worse.

The gallery hired a computer forensics firm to provide more detail on what else they believe Yoo did.  She is also accused of deleting important information from the gallery’s inventory management and client contact system. One example includes “wholesale deletions of client notes (some dating back years)” which the gallery uses extensively to market specific artwork to specific clients.

Wait… there’s more.

Yoo is also accused of maliciously corrupting client records (example given included altering client contact details to include fake information), and deleting all files from her cloud storage account connected with her work computer. All these steps appear to be designed to improve Yoo’s ability to sell at the new gallery.

The court case is still pending.

Any organization with valuable data – be it customer data, trade secrets, intellectual property, product roadmaps, or anything else that would benefit a competitor – needs to consider protecting it with Employee Monitoring Software that watches, audits, alerts, and reports on improper or unusual employee activity. Had the gallery utilized such a solution, it’s likely they may have been able to know about Yoo’s actions before such damage was done. And it’s certain that with Employee Monitoring Software in place, they would be able to playback in court any malicious actions performed by one of their employees.