HR Strange But True!
October 02, 2008

Ever wondered what celebrities' passport photos look like? Do the celebrities look as good as they do in magazines and on the movie screen? Well, one employee of the U.S. Department of State must have been curious because he accessed passport records for hundreds of famous people. Now Lawrence Yontz, 48, of Arlington, Virginia, is facing 1 year in prison for his curiosity.

The now-former State Department employee recently pleaded guilty to illegally accessing hundreds of confidential passport application files.

The Department of Justice said the list of about 200 individuals' files Yontz accessed included those of celebrities, athletes, actors, politicians, musicians, game show contestants (huh?), members of the media corps, prominent business professionals, colleagues, and neighbors.

When questioned, Yontz admitted that he had no official government reason to access and view these passport applications, and that his sole purpose in accessing and viewing these passport applications was idle curiosity, the Justice Department said.

Yontz was a contract employee working as an intelligence analyst within the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. The position gave him access to official State Department computer databases, including the Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS), which contains all imaged passport applications dating back to 1994.

At sentencing, Yontz faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Source: Department of Justice

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