Former Brighton Man Indicted for Theft of Trade Secrets, Wire Fraud and False Statements for Stealing Livonia Manufacturer’s Blueprints
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Michigan
March 12, 2009
A federal grand jury indictment was unsealed today charging a former Brighton man on charges of wire fraud, theft of trade secrets and false statements, announced United States Attorney Terrence Berg.
U.S. Attorney Berg was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit, Michigan, office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Thomas McKinney, 38, of Spring, Texas was arrested today near Houston by federal agents.
The indictment charges that in 2005, McKinney, while employed by Harland Robertson Company of Livonia, Michigan, stole its trade secrets and intellectual property and went to work at a new company. McKinney stole blueprints and drawings for chucks which Harland Robertson manufactured for sale to the automotive industry and similar companies. The chucks involved were devices that held a moving part for the purpose of performing a machining or manipulation operation against a stationary tool. The designs and data for the chucks were trade secrets. McKinney worked as a salesman at Harland Robertson, and had access to its trade secrets and intellectual property.
The indictment also charges McKinney with making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
U.S. Attorney Terence Berg said, "When a corporate insider steals critical trade secrets, he puts at risk the competitive advantage of the victim company. Corporations cannot afford to lose trade secrets in today’s global economy where competition is fierce.”
If convicted as charged, McKinney could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment for the charge of wire fraud, 10 years imprisonment for the theft of trade secrets, and up to five years for the false statements charge. He could also be fined up to $250,000 and ordered to pay restitution. Any sentence will be imposed under the United States Sentence Guidelines according to the nature of the offense and the defendant’s criminal background, if any.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher L. Varner.
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