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Porn forced convicted computer executive’s resignation from job with DHHR

CHARLESTON, W.Va. [http://sundaygazettemail.com] – Convicted Cross Lanes computer executive Martin Bowling was forced to resign from a previous job at the state Department of Health and Human Resources after agency officials discovered pornographic materials on his computer.

In 2004, Bowling complained that his computer wasn’t working at optimal speed, leading the department’s information technology employees to examine it.

They found a large cache of pornography, including videos, which take up a large amount of computer memory, according to DHHR employees.

File photo

At the time, Bowling was working as a programmer in the Bureau of Behavioral Health and Health Facilities office, hired through CDI Corp., a temporary agency that provides professional services.

“Our folks were trying to install some software to update it, and his computer just locked up,” said John Law, a DHHR spokesman. “We did call the company, and they escorted Mr. Bowling out of the building, and we never saw him afterward.”

Nonetheless, Bowling later touted his work at DHHR on his Web site, alleging he had “landed a contract,” with the state agency.

Bowling, who worked at DHHR for only several months, also included mention of his work with the agency in biographical information he presented when speaking at Internet marketing conferences throughout the United States.

On March 5, Bowling, former chief technical officer at Comar Inc. and its subsidiary Vec3, was sentenced to three years in prison after he admitted using stolen credit card numbers to make $4,500 in purchases that included art work, video game systems and Cuban cigars.

Bowling told police he worked as a computer contractor for Parkersburg-based Woodcraft magazine in 2006 and had swiped a magazine database that included subscribers’ names and credit card numbers.

Bowling, 29, confessed he made most of the purchases on the Internet from his office computer at Comar, an Internet marketing and public relations firm that publishes MetroValley magazine.

Bowling also told police he tried to use the credit card numbers to download online pornography but was unsuccessful, according to a police report.

“The bad thing was, he was a great programmer,” said James Eazey, a DHHR computer programmer who remembered Bowling’s troubles at the agency.

As a programmer, Bowling had access to mental-health patient data, Law said.

“Yes, there probably was confidential data that he dealt with,” Law said.

File photo

Bowling’s duties included developing a software program for the agency, but Law was unsure what the program was designed to do.

Last week, Bowling asked Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey to reduce his sentence and place him on probation or home confinement. Bailey plans to decide on the request within a week.

Bowling was nationally known for his expertise in Internet marketing, Web site design and “online reputation management,” which helps companies and individuals push positive information to the top of a page following a Web search.

Earlier this month, the Gazette reported that Bowling’s mother, a state employment programs administrator, distributed a $100,000 grant to Comar last year. Bowling used part of the grant money to travel to conferences in Seattle, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Las Vegas and other cities.

Bowling’s mother, Mary Jane Bowling, administered the grant for Workforce West Virginia, the former state Bureau of Employment programs. The agency has started a review of Mary Jane Bowling’s role in awarding the grant.

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