ATLANTA-- Ibrahim Dimson, 30, of Bronx, N.Y., Edmund Duhaney, 43, of Decatur, Ga., and Joya Williams, 41, of Norcross, Ga., were indicted today by a federal grand jury on a charge of conspiring to steal and to sell The Coca Cola Company's trade secrets. The defendants were arrested last week on a federal complaint that charged them with wire fraud and unlawfully obtaining and selling trade secrets from The Coca Cola Company. After their arraignment, a federal magistrate judge ordered Dimson and Duhaney detained without bond, and Williams is free on $25,000 bond pending trial.
"The defendants allegedly acted in concert to steal highly sensitive trade secrets belonging to The Coca Cola Company for personal profit," stated U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias of the Northern District of Georgia. " The sensitive nature of the information stolen from The Coca Cola Company necessitated swift action by law enforcement, which quickly put together the case."
The indictment charges one count of conspiracy to steal trade secrets. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
According to the pleadings filed in the case, on May 19, 2006, PepsiCo provided to Coca Cola headquarters in Atlanta a copy of a letter mailed to PepsiCo in Purchase, N.Y., in an official Coca Cola business envelope. The letter, postmarked from the Bronx, N.Y., was from an individual identifying himself as "Dirk," who claimed to be employed at a high level with Coca Cola and offered "very detailed and confidential information." Coca Cola immediately contacted the FBI. An undercover FBI investigation determined that "Dirk" was Ibrahim Dimson of Bronx, N.Y.
Phone records and further investigation allegedly showed the source of the information was Joya Williams, an Executive Administrative Assistant at The Coca Cola Company in Atlanta, who had access to some information and materials described by "Dirk." As the investigation progressed, "Dirk" provided to an FBI undercover agent 14 pages of Coca Cola logo-marked "Classified - Confidential" and "CLASSIFIED - Highly Restricted" documents. The company confirmed that these documents were valid and highly confidential and were considered highly classified proprietary information-trade secrets. Almost immediately, "Dirk" requested $10,000 for the documents sent as proof, emailing, in part, "I must see some type of seriousness on there part, if I'm to maintain the faith to continue with you guys, or if I need to look towards another entity that will be interested in a relationship with me. I have the capability of obtaining information per request. I have information that's all Classified and extremely confidential, that only a handful of the top execs at my company have seen. I can even provide actual products and packaging of certain products, that no eye has seen, outside of maybe 5 top execs. I need to know today, if I have a serious partner or not. If the good faith moneys is in my account by Monday, that will be an indication of your seriousness."
Later "Dirk" produced other documents that Coca Cola confirmed were valid trade secrets of Coca Cola and highly confidential, and was to receive $5,000 for the documents received as good faith money for additional purchases. "Dirk" also agreed to an amount of $75,000 for the purchase of a highly confidential product sample from a new Coca Cola project.
Meanwhile, with the cooperation and assistance of Coca Cola security personnel, video surveillance showed Joya Williams at her desk going through multiple files looking for documents and stuffing them into bags. She also was observed holding a liquid container with a white label, which resembled the description of new Coca Cola product sample before placing it into her personal bag. Coca Cola later verified that the sample was genuine and is in fact a product being developed by the company.
On June 16, 2006, a FBI undercover agent met with Dimson ("Dirk") at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. "Dirk" provided a brown Armani Exchange bag containing one manila envelope with documents marked "highly confidential" and one glass bottle with a white label containing a liquid product sample. The undercover agent paid "Dirk" $30,000 in $100 and $50 bills of United States currency contained within a yellow Girl Scout cookie box with the agreement that after successful testing of the product sample, an additional $45,000 would be paid. After leaving, Dimson met in a rental car with an individual later identified as Edmund Duhaney and they drove to Duhaney's home in Decatur. Call records showed that Duhaney was in contact with Dimson and Williams on that day. On June 27, 2006, an undercover FBI agent offered to buy the remaining trade secret items for $1.5 million from "Dirk." The same day a bank account was opened under the names of Duhaney and Dimson ("Dirk"), and the address used on the account was that of Duhaney's Decatur residence. The alleged purpose of the account was to facilitate the transfer of the $1.5 million. Dimson, Williams and Duhaney were arrested in Atlanta without incident on July 5, 2006, the day the $1.5 million deal was to take place.
This case is being investigated by the FBI.
Assistant United States Attorneys Randy S. Chartash and BJay Pak are prosecuting the case.