Sabotage And Industrial Espionage

Industrial Espionage And SabotageIndustrial Espionage, the theft of trade secrets, corporate or economic espionage — whatever you call it — is a federal criminal offense as defined by the Economic Espionage Act of 1996.

There are two main sections of the Act: 18 U.S.C. § 1831(a) criminalizes the theft of trade secrets to benefit a foreign power, company or individual; 18 U.S.C. § 1832 criminalizes domestic theft for commercial or economic purposes. The statutory penalties are slightly different, but both definitions are nearly identical.

Business Challenge

The rise of e-commerce has forced many companies to share their proprietary, confidential information through Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and via cloud storage. Hackers and subsequent data breaches represent a major risk for businesses that rely on their ability to share data with employees, vendors and contractors around the world. In addition, the economic climate in the U.S. means that more than ever, U.S.-based employers are fighting to keep their trade secrets away from competitors and foreign powers.

Business Solution

Our experienced investigators have interviewed hundreds of employees from a variety of industries that have stolen client lists, formulas, recipes, illegally copied data from file servers and even internal communications. We are skilled at getting admissions of guilt from these thieves, but more importantly, we are often able to recover stolen trade secrets and proprietary files, “putting Pandora back in the box”.

Case Study

An insurance company salesperson accidentally sent an email to his supervisor that was intended for his new employer — a competitor of his current employer. Apparently, the competitor had hired the salesperson on the condition that he brought all of his clients with him. The misdirected e-mail contained references to spreadsheets containing proprietary client lists and pricing information, informing our client that this was an ongoing issue; their employee was effectively spying on them for a competitor.

When confronted by our Investigators, the employee admitted to his wrong-doing and was dismissed. His employer is currently considering litigation against him and our work will ensure they have the strongest case possible.