Boston...A Chelmsford man was convicted today in federal court of five counts of wire fraud for stealing valuable computer chip manufacturing and design documents from his former employer.
Biswamohan Pani, 36, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to five counts of wire fraud. Had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that in 2008, Pani was working in Hudson, Mass. for Intel Corporation, one of the world’s leaders in designing and manufacturing computer chips. From Feb. through April, 2008, Pani was looking for a job at other computer chip manufacturers, and ultimately obtained a job at Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (“AMD”), one of Intel’s major competitors. Pani kept his job search secret from Intel, and when he announced his departure on May 29, 2008, he told the company that he might work for a hedge fund. Pani told Intel that he wanted to take the next one-and-a-half weeks as vacation until his last day at work on June 11, 2008.
Unbeknownst to Intel, Pani had started downloading from Intel computers numerous secret documents about Intel’s manufacturing and design of computer chips. The intensive downloads began on May 28, just before he announced his departure, and continued on May 29. Also unbeknownst to Intel, Pani started working at AMD on June 2, while he was still on Intel’s payroll and still had access to Intel’s computer systems. On June 8 and June 10, Pani remotely accessed Intel’s computer system numerous times and downloaded 13 of Intel’s most valuable documents, along with other confidential and proprietary information, and a document explaining how encrypted documents could be reviewed when not connected to Intel’s computer system. Pani also backed up the downloaded files to an external hard drive for access after he left Intel.
On June 11, 2008, Pani reported to Intel for his exit interview and falsely stated that he had not retained any of Intel’s property, when in fact he had kept the electronic equivalent of boxes full of downloaded documents and some printed Intel documents at his apartment. They were found a month later, when the FBI searched his home. Intel has valued those documents as worth $200 million to $400 million, at minimum.
The FBI was able to recover these documents quickly, before Pani could use them to Intel’s disadvantage, largely because Intel reported the theft quickly and assisted the investigation. AMD also cooperated with the investigation, and there was no evidence that AMD or its employees had asked Pani to take these documents or even knew that he had them. Pani nevertheless took Intel’s documents to advance his career at AMD or elsewhere by drawing on the documents when the opportunity arose, whether with his employer’s knowledge or not.
Judge Saylor scheduled sentencing for Aug. 8, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.. Pani faces up to 20 years in prison on each count, to be followed by three years of supervised release, forfeiture, restitution, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam J. Bookbinder and Scott L. Garland of Ortiz’s Cybercrimes Unit.
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