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Former State Employee with Information on Thousands of Metro Teachers Arrested - John Dunn

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The TBI says a Hermitage man may have been trying to sell the personal information of 6,300 metro school teachers and state employees. Steven Hunter is now charged with identity theft trafficking, and we've learned that he used to be a teacher himself.

Investigators say a potentially destructive crime started with an email. "This individual's moral outlook was not what it should have been," says State Treasurer David Lillard.

The TBI says 24 year old Stephen Hunter used his job at the state treasury department to access personal information, including social security numbers, of 6,300 metro teachers. Hunter resigned last week and supervisors say he emailed the information to himself. "You can design a lot of controls, and we have a lot of controls in the Treasury department, but it is possible for an individual who looks at it long enough and schemes and plots and all the rest to figure out some way to evade it," says Lillard.

FOX 17 News reviewed Hunter's personnel file and we found he worked as a substitute teacher for Metro Schools. The TBI is now investigating to see if that may have motivated his alleged crime. The Treasury Department also had concerns. Just last month he was reprimanded for leaving his laptop unsecured on his desk, which is viewed as a security breach. "I think it became apparent that he was not one who took direction very well, and that he felt that he had his own method of doing things," says Lillard.

The TBI seized Hunter's computer from his Hermitage home. Investigators say he was researching how to sell social security numbers, and reading about people arrested for identify theft. FOX 17 News tried to speak with Hunter, but he was not home.

The Treasury Department is retraining its employees in hopes of improving security. "I think anytime you have a significant event like this certainly is, you have to take that as an opportunity to redouble your efforts in that regard," says Lillard.

Right now the TBI does not believe Stephen Hunter disseminated any of the personal information, however, the state treasury is offering  free credit monitoring for metro school teachers. That service will cost the state at least $28,000 dollars. Teachers will receive more information in the mail.

Hunter bonded out from the Davidson County Jail at 10 p.m. Thursday on $10,000. He is due in court on January 15, 2014.

For news updates follow John Dunn on twitter @WZTVJohnDunn

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