Christian County Men Charged with Attempting to Steal Trade Secrets from Their Former Employer
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 15, 2012|
PADUCAH, KY—Three Christian County, Kentucky men were charged in a seven-count indictment by a federal grand jury recently meeting in Paducah, Kentucky, with conspiring to convert trade secrets for their economic benefit announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.
According to the indictment, Phillip Lee Groves, Gregory Lee Wampler, and Eric Dale Tinderholt allegedly stole trade secret information, owned by White Drive Products Inc., located in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Groves and Wampler allegedly stole the trade secret information while employed by the manufacturing company and made a business proposal to a competitor detailing the benefits the competitor could realize by employing the defendants as a commissioned sales force.
The alleged conspiracy took place between November 30, 2007 and September 22, 2008. According to the indictment, on January 11, 2008, defendant Groves, without authorization, copied and transferred onto a USB portable hard drive 125 files containing confidential information owned by White Drive Products Inc. On February 15, 2008, defendants Groves and Wampler made a business proposal to a competitor of White Drive Products Inc. detailing the benefits the competitor could realize by employing the defendants as a commission sales force working on behalf of the competitor company. On February 15, 2008, defendant Groves sent an e-mail to a representative of the competitor, and defendant Wampler attached a copy of a PowerPoint presentation in a business proposal to the same unnamed company. From February 22, 2008 through April 30, 2008, defendants Groves and Wampler, without authorization, copied and transferred onto a portable hard drive thousands of files containing confidential trade secret information owned by White Drive Products Inc.
On May 5, 2008, defendants Groves and Wampler resigned their jobs with White Drive Products Inc., and on May 12, 2008, Groves and Wampler began employment with the competitor.
Defendant Tinderholt is charged in counts six and seven of the federal indictment with receiving and possessing trade secret information owned by White Drive Products Inc. and knowing that the information and been stolen, appropriated, obtained, and converted without authorization and with transmitting delivering and communicating trade secret information owned by White Drive Products Inc. without authorization.
If convicted, defendant Groves faces no more than 40 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $1,000,000. Defendant Wampler faces no more than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000. Defendant Tinderholt faces no more than 30 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $750,000.
The defendants are schedule for arraignment on November 15, 2012, at 1:30 p.m. CST before Magistrate Judge Lanny King in U.S. District Court in Paducah, Kentucky.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James R. Lesousky, Jr. and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.