18 March 2010 20:48 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A former DuPont employee was sentenced to 18 months in US federal prison after pleading guilty to theft of trade secrets and obstruction of justice, the company said on Thursday.
The employee, Michael Mitchell, will also pay DuPont restitution for fees and costs spent on the case, the company said.
Mitchell left DuPont in early 2006 and began working on behalf of Kolon Industries, a South Korean competitor of DuPont's Kevlar products, the company said.
In 2007, DuPont became concerned about Mitchell's activities and notified the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the US Department of Commerce, the company said.
An FBI investigation revealed that in August 2008, three Kolon managers had flown to Richmond, the site of DuPont's Kevlar technology and business headquarters, the company said. According to the investigation, the managers flew to Richmond to obtain confidential information about DuPont process technology, the company said.
In December, the federal government charged Mitchell on a count of stealing trade secrets and a count of obstructing justice. Soon afterwards, Mitchell agreed to plead guilty. A sentencing hearing was held on Thursday.
"Today's sentencing of Michael Mitchell, following his guilty plea in December, confirms that DuPont proprietary information had been stolen and provided to Kolon," according to a statement issued by Thomas Sager, DuPont general counsel.
Kolon did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
In addition to the criminal case, DuPont sued Kolon Industries in civil court, accusing the company of stealing trade secrets. The lawsuit is pending.
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