On September 8, a reporter from 100 Percent Fed Up attended “The Pit,” where True the Votes’ Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips dropped a bombshell about Eugene Yu, CEO of Konnech, an E. Lansing, MI-based company responsible for the software used in managing elections in several states that stored personal information of over 1 million Americans in its database.
Kanekoa The Great, a spectacular investigative journalist and blogger, reported about the findings of The Pit on September 8, 2022- In January 2021, Phillips said that the cyber analyst he had been working with encountered an “oddity in some of the URLs” such as vote4la.com, vote4detroit.com, and vote4boston.com, which Konnech’s “PollChief” software application used to gather personally-identifying information about poll workers.
Using Binary Edge, a software product companies use to identify and assess the risk of cyber breaches, “We began to look at where do these URLs actually resolve to. We found that most of them resolve to one IP address and that IP address — the URL resolved in China,” Phillips said.
“What we also learned in our review, apps.konnech.com [.net], resolved into this same URL in China, meaning that the application itself was residing in China,” he continued.
“In Binary Edge, you can figure out what type of database they are using, their database port, and all the different services offered by ports in this particular application living in China. It turned out that not only did it live there, but they left the database open.”
This database “stored the personally identifying information of over a million Americans,” he emphasized.
Engelbrecht and Phillips decided that “this was a major national security risk” and immediately took the information to the FBI.
According to Gregg Phillips, the FBI had already been investigating Konnech.
“These were legitimate people who believed that this software posed a national security risk to the United States of America and they were working with us closely to try to stop this from being in place during the midterms,” Phillips said.
“The focus point was always we needed to remove this software from the election, but taking a step further, there were a lot of other concerns that the bureau had.”
“In fact, the president of this company sits on the board of another election company that is one of the founding members of DHS’s election security task force. So you want to talk about the fox in the hen house? It’s all right there,” Engelbrecht noted about Konnech CEO Eugene Yu’s membership on Votem Corp.’s Board of Advisors.
Furthermore, Phillips added, “The same individual who programmed this election mess, PollChief, was also the lead programmer for the Confucius Institute internal comms [communication] mechanism.”
“Meaning how they exchange data between here and China, this same person built the entire app that runs all of these elections across the United States. This is a red Chinese communist op run against the United States by Chinese operatives and it’s a disaster.”
The FBI agents indicated that Konnech had already “been on their radar” and that there were “lots of other problems” with the U.S. election company, including “banking issues” and problems involving the company’s overseas operations in “Australia” and “Canada.”
In April 2022, Engelbrecht received a call from one of the FBI agents, who informed her that the FBI’s “Washington D.C. headquarters” was now involved in the investigation.
Engelbrecht described how everything changed after this call, “There was no more goodwill, there was no more let’s work together, the script had been flipped, and now we were the target,” she said. “That was a very disturbing call.”
The agent informed Engelbrecht that “two women” at the FBI’s headquarters believed that Phillips and Engelbrecht were “in the wrong for doing this” and that the D.C. office was now trying “to figure out how you guys broke the law to find all of this”.
Engelbrecht added, “which of course we didn’t, but that was kind of their MO [modus operandi], they were going to try to pin something on us, and today you can pick your headlines about how the FBI has done this time and again.”
Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips were brutalized by the media for making accusations against Konnech, and many people who reported on their story were sued by Konnech.
Earlier today, the Democrat mouthpiece, The New York Times, came out in defense of Konnech and their CEO Eugene Yu. In their article, they suggest that Yu is somehow a victim of conspiracy theorists or “far right election deniers,” who believe the election was stolen from President Trump in 2020.
In the two years since former President Donald J. Trump lost his re-election bid, conspiracy theorists have subjected election officials and private companies that play a major role in elections to a barrage of outlandish voter fraud claims.
But the attacks on Konnech demonstrate how far-right election deniers are also giving more attention to new and more secondary companies and groups. Their claims often find a receptive online audience, which then uses the assertions to raise doubts about the integrity of American elections.
Unlike other election technology companies targeted by election deniers, Konnech, a company based in Michigan with 21 employees in the United States and six in Australia, has nothing to do with collecting, counting or reporting ballots in American elections. Instead, it helps clients like Los Angeles County and Allen County, Ind., with basic election logistics, such as scheduling poll workers.
Konnech said none of the accusations were true. It said that all the data for its American customers were stored on servers in the United States and that it had no ties to the Chinese government.
But the claims have had consequences for the firm. Konnech’s founder and chief executive, Eugene Yu, an American citizen who immigrated from China in 1986, went into hiding with his family after receiving threatening messages. Other employees also feared for their safety and started working remotely after users posted details about Konnech’s headquarters, including the number of cars in the company’s parking lot.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has just announced that Eugene Yu has been arrested and taken into custody on suspicion of theft of information of voters that’s been stored on servers in Communist China.
Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote has confirmed that Eugene Yu has been arrested and will speak with us later this evening to provide more details.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today that an executive with a Michigan-based company responsible for the software used in managing Los Angeles County election poll workers has been arrested as part of an investigation into the possible theft of personal identifying information of those workers.
“I want to thank my prosecutors and investigators for their commitment to eliminating cyber intrusions against government entities and local businesses,” District Attorney Gascón said.
“Data breaches are an ongoing threat to our digital way of life. When we entrust a company to hold our confidential data, they must be willing and able to protect our personal identifying information from theft. Otherwise, we are all victims.
This investigation is concerned solely with the personal identifying information of election workers. In this case, the alleged conduct had no impact on the tabulation of votes and did not alter election results. But security in all aspects of any election is essential so that we all have full faith in the integrity of the election process.”
Earlier today, Konnech Corporation Chief Executive Officer Eugene Yu was taken into custody on suspicion of theft of personal identifying information by investigators from the District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Meridian Township Police Department in Michigan. In addition, hard drives and other digital evidence were seized by LADA investigators.
The District Attorney’s Office is seeking Yu’s extradition to Los Angeles.
Konnech distributes and sells its proprietary PollChief software, which is an election worker management system that was utilized by the county in the last California election. The software assists with poll worker assignments, communications, and payroll. PollChief requires that workers submit personal identifying information, which is retained by the Konnech.
Under its $2.9 million, five-year contract with the county, Konnech was supposed to securely maintain the data and that only United States citizens and permanent residents have access to it.
District Attorney investigators found that in contradiction to the contract, information was stored on servers in the People’s Republic of China.
The East Lansing Police Department and Ingham County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan also assisted in the investigation.