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November 8, 2007

Corporate Espionage

Former DuPont Employee Sentenced

Scientist who pled guilty gets 18 months in prison, fines

William G. Schulz

A former DuPont researcher, Gary Min, was sentenced in federal court in Delaware this week for theft of trade secrets. U.S. District Court Judge Sue L. Robinson ordered Min to serve 18 months in federal prison and two years of supervised probation, pay a $30,000 fine, and pay $14,500 restitution to DuPont.

Min pleaded guilty to the crime in November 2006 (C&EN, Feb. 26, page 25). In a statement, DuPont says it "fully supports" the sentence. "As a science company, DuPont takes aggressive measures to protect its unique and confidential technologies." DuPont says a civil lawsuit against Min was resolved "to our complete satisfaction."

Min's attorney, Michael M. Mustokoff, tells C&EN that "the sentence was fair" and that the particulars of the case allowed the judge to depart from federal sentencing guidelines. Those guidelines normally call for 24 to 30 months in jail for theft of trade secrets. Mustokoff points out, however, that there is no evidence of substantial financial damage to DuPont from Min's actions and no evidence that Min ever sold DuPont's trade secrets to a buyer. He says this is why the restitution Min has been ordered to pay DuPont is a low figure.

Min was working for polyether ketone producer Victrex in February 2006 when government agents raided his home and found garbage bags full of shredded DuPont documents. Min is subject to home confinement until he receives his prison assignment.

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