A man fired as IT director for a Richmond, Virginia, seller of telecom equipment has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for hacking into his former employer's website and deleting files, the US Department of Justice said.

Darnell Albert-El, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally damaging a protected computer without authorisation on June 29. He was sentenced Friday in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and, in addition to the prison time, ordered to pay US$6,700 in restitution to Trans Marx, which sells discounted telecom equipment and supplies.

Albert-El, of Richmond, worked at Trans Marx from February to June 2008, according to court documents. Before he was fired, Albert-El had access to the Trans Marx computer network, including the company website hosted in Georgia, the DOJ said.

On July 25, Albert-El used a personal computer and an administrator account to access the computer hosting the company's website, and he deleted about 1,000 files related to the Trans Marx website, the DOJ said.

In his plea agreement and an earlier interview with US Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, Albert-El said he deleted the files because he was angry about being fired, the DOJ said.

Albert-El later told Trans Marx employees where backup tapes were located and offered to assist them in restoring the files, said his lawyer, Mary Maguire, while arguing in court documents for a lenient sentence.