By Thomas Claburn
November 8, 2007
On Tuesday, a former DuPont scientist who admitted stealing company
secrets was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison, fined $30,000, and
ordered to pay almost $14,500 in restitution to DuPont.
Gary Min, 44, was sentenced in Wilmington, Del., for stealing DuPont
trade secrets, an act he admitted to in November 2006. The maximum
sentence for his offense is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Prior to sentencing, Min reportedly asked for leniency because
incarceration would be a hardship on his family and because his actions
did not result in significant financial loss to DuPont. The estimated
value of the documents exceeded $400 million, according to the
Nonetheless, Stacey J. Mobley, senior VP and general counsel at DuPont,
in a statement on Tuesday expressed support for the sentence.
"As a science company, DuPont takes aggressive measures to protect its
unique and confidential technologies," she said. "Although we are
troubled that Mr. Min violated the trust placed in him, the criminal and
civil actions brought against him demonstrate the actions that we will
take to preserve the integrity of our proprietary science and technology
for the benefit of DuPont shareholders and customers. Judge Robinson
underscored the importance of those actions by sentencing Mr. Min to
federal prison and sent a clear signal to others who might consider
committing similar crimes."
According to government prosecutors and affirmed by Min as part of his
guilt plea, Min started work for DuPont as a research chemist in 1995.
In July 2005, Min began discussions with Victrex PLC, a polymer
manufacturing company, about a job in Asia. Victrex makes a polymer
compound called PEEK that competes with two DuPont products, Vespel and
In October, Min accepted a job with Victrex that was scheduled to begin
in January 2006. Min did not tell DuPont of his plans until December.
Between August 2005 and December 2005, Min downloaded approximately
22,000 abstracts and 16,000 full-text .pdf documents from DuPont's
Electronic Data Library (EDL), most of which were unrelated to his
professional responsibilities at DuPont.
It was the unusually high volume of EDL downloads that prompted DuPont
to contact the FBI and begin an investigation. A DuPont spokesperson
declined to explain whether scrutinizing network activity by departing
employees is standard practice or whether some specific incident
triggered a review of Min's online actions.
Shortly after he began working for Victrex, Min uploaded some 180 DuPont
documents to his new corporate laptop. Informed of Min's actions at
DuPont, Victrex subsequently seized Min's laptop and turned it over to
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