Insider at Cal Water steals $9M and runs

On the night of April 27, 2009, hours after he had resigned from his job as an auditor at the California Water Services Company, Abdirahman Ismail Abdi used his still active electronic key card to get into the secured facilities where he used to work.

He then allegedly gained access to computers belonging to two senior executives in two separate buildings at the utility to initiate and confirm three wire transfers totaling more than $9 million, to an account in Qatar.

Early the next day, he put his wife and children on a flight to Frankfurt, Germany and then attempted to deposit a check made out to CWSC totaling more than $25,000, which he had apparently stolen, into his bank account in the U.S.

On May 1, with federal authorities hot on his tail, Abdi cancelled a reservation he had on a flight out of San Francisco to London, and then over the next few days somehow managed to flee to Canada where he remains at large. The money itself, however, has since been recovered.

The attempted theft, as described in court papers filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is the latest example to highlight why security analysts say insiders pose a bigger -- though often underestimated -- threat to corporate assets than external attackers.

Only earlier this month, Wilbur Fondren, deputy director for the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Washington Liaison Office was for selling classified government information to a Chinese agent.