Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/19/kundra_and_jcpenny/

Obama CIO's 'youthful indiscretion': shirt thieving

Fled security guard with four button-downs

By Cade Metz

Posted in Bootnotes, 19th March 2009 17:11 GMT

Why was America's inaugural CIO cuffed for petty thievery as 21-year-old? He swiped four dress shirts from J.C. Penney - and made a run for it.

In 1996, according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press, a J.C. Penney security guard watched as future US chief information officer Vivek Kundra put four dress shirts into a shopping bag and left the store without paying. Kundra was arrested after a brief foot chase, the report says, and the shirts - worth $134 - were recovered.

Kundra pleaded guilty to the sub-$300 theft, paid a $100 fine (plus $55 in court costs), and performed 80 hours of community service.

The White House has not responded to our request for comment on the matter, but in speaking with others it has called the petty theft "a youthful indiscretion." Kundra was 21 at the time.

In March, at age of 34, he was tapped by President Barack Obama as the country's first CIO after almost two years as chief technology officer for the local Washington, D.C. government. Just days later, a manager in the D.C. CTO office was arrested on charges of bribery, conspiracy, money laundering, and conflict of interest.

The White House soon put Kundra on leave, citing "an abundance of caution." But he has since returned to work. ®