Fired Timberwolves employee charged for allegedly stealing team info and personal data

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have fired an employee after he was arrested and charged with a third-degree felony for burglary for allegedly taking a hard drive of a high-ranking team employee that contained confidential team information and private personal data.

Somak Sarkar was terminated as a coaching analyst by the Timberwolves last month after he was found to have taken an external hard drive that belonged to another Timberwolves employee. The alleged victim of the theft was identified by the initials “S.G.” in the complaint and named as the team’s executive vice president. That person is believed to be Sachin Gupta, an executive vice president of basketball operations with the organization.

According to a complaint filed at the Hennepin County District Court, Gupta had left an external hard drive connected to a computer in his office at the team’s headquarters on Feb. 2. When he returned to work Feb. 5, Gupta found that the hard drive was gone. It contained strategic NBA information, including employer and player contracts, as well as his family’s tax information.

The team was able to determine that Sarkar had taken the hard drive by checking badge use data and video feeds, according to the complaint. Sarkar entered the team’s facility on Feb. 3 when no one else was around and went into Gupta’s office. Sarkar “entered the office twice after looking to see if anyone could see him” and then left, the complaint said. Sarkar was fired immediately, according to the complaint.

Another Timberwolves employee was able to get the hard drive back from Sarkar. After a forensic analysis, the team found that Sarkar had used his work computer to open some of the files on the hard drive and that more than 5,000 files had been accessed and transferred to a different device.

Sarkar was arrested on Monday. After obtaining a search warrant, police officers found three tablets, a computer and multiple hard drives, one of which contained all the information from Gupta’s hard drive. Sarkar told police that he had the hard drive because he was a member of the team’s coaching staff, had to “put some stuff on it” and forgot to return the hard drive.

Sarkar had worked under Gupta until August when he was transferred because of poor job performance, according to the complaint.

He was released without bail on Thursday and ordered to stay away from Timberwolves property as a condition of his bail. Sarkar also cannot have any contact with Gupta.

A spokesperson for the Timberwolves said that the team is aware of the allegations and has no comment.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Sarkar joined the Timberwolves in August 2021 and also worked in analytics for the New York Knicks from January 2021 to July 2021 and the New Orleans Pelicans from September 2013 to August 2020. He also worked as a basketball operations intern for the Houston Rockets from October 2012 to June 2013.

Team sources within the Rockets organization said they have no plans at the moment to investigate Sarkar’s lone season in Houston.

“There’s more we need to learn about the case,” Ryan Pacyga, an attorney representing Sarkar, said. “We’re waiting for the evidence. I’m hearing some facts that could be favorable, but I don’t want to put those facts out until I can confirm those facts.”

Sarkar’s next court date is May 16.

(Photo: David Sherman / NBAE via Getty Images)

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