Passaic County Man Admits Role In Stealing Employer’s Toothpaste Formulas
NEWARK, N.J. – A former research technician and scientist for a worldwide consumer products company that researched, developed, designed, manufactured, marketed, and sold oral care consumer products today admitted stealing toothpaste formulas from the company, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Muamer Reci, 57, of Haskell, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In August 2012, two individuals established a consumer hygiene and cleaning products company, Reci & Sons, which, in November 2015, established a subsidiary, Reci Enterprises, in Macedonia. Reci never disclosed the existence of Reci & Sons or Reci Enterprises to his employer (Victim 1).
A document dated July 31, 2016, and titled “Project Eurodent” was recovered from Reci’s work email account. The document (the Eurodent Business Plan) described a plan for Reci Enterprises to develop, manufacture, and sell a toothpaste named Eurodent. The Eurodent Business Plan listed as one of its objectives to “Launch Reci Enterprises research labs, and manufacturing complex to the public by fourth quarter of Year 2017.” The Eurodent Business Plan valued the business at roughly $2 million.
As the anticipated construction date for manufacturing facility approached, Reci sent several emails to an individual at Reci & Sons attaching Victim 1’s proprietary toothpaste formulas for existing products and an unreleased toothpaste product, as well as proprietary laboratory procedures for Victim 1’s products. For example, on Aug. 9, 2017, Reci sent an email to “Person 1” stating: “[p]rint this [sic] formulas and file them.” Attached to the email were proprietary toothpaste formulas belonging to Victim 1, including formulas for a dry mouth toothpaste that Victim 1 had not yet launched and a children’s toothpaste marketed by Victim 1. The email also attached the formula for Reci Enterprises’ Eurodent toothpaste, which contained proprietary signature features of an existing Victim 1 product.
The wire fraud count with which Reci is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 10, 2020.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari B. Fontecchio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Ronald Ricci Esq., Totowa, New Jersey