- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire linen company has admitted it hacked the computer system of a competitor in Massachusetts to try to steal customers.

General Linen Services of Somersworth agreed in federal court Thursday to a plea deal that will cost the company up to $500,000 in fines and five years on probation.

Prosecutors say GLS hacked into the computer system operated by General Linen Services Co. of Newburyport 157 times from September 2009 to April 2010. The two companies use software provided by one company and GLS was able to use default logins to download about 1,100 customer invoices from the Massachusetts company to try to gain a competitive edge.

Both companies rent uniforms, tablecloths and floor-mats to restaurants.

A spokeswoman for GLS said the company “deeply regrets” the misconduct, which the company called a “serious error in judgment” that won’t happen again.

A lawyer for the family-owned Newburyport company said it’s pleased its larger competitor was brought to justice.

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