Engineer ends trial by pleading guilty to the federal crime of conspiring to steal trade secrets
Defendant admitted guilt on second day of trial
SAVANNAH, GA: A South Carolina man who joined in a conspiracy to steal trade secrets from aircraft companies faces sentencing in federal court after admitting guilt during his trial.
Gilbert Basaldua, 62, of Hilton Head, S.C., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets and Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property during the second day of his jury trial in U.S. District Court in Statesboro, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Basaldua faces a statutory sentence of up to 10 years in prison on each charge, plus substantial financial penalties. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Gilbert Basaldua stole an aircraft company’s intellectual property in order to avoid having to spend millions of dollars and years of research to develop an icing wind tunnel testing plan that could win FAA certification,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “On the second day of his jury trial however, Basaldua could not overcome the overwhelming evidence presented against him and learned that his theft of another company’s intellectual property would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
As alleged in the superseding indictment in the case filed in August 2020, Basaldua worked as a numerical control engineer contractor for an aircraft manufacturer in the Southern District from October 2016 through November 2018. During that time, Basaldua conspired with his co-conspirators to steal valuable proprietary aircraft wing designs and anti-icing testing information from various aircraft manufacturers, including the company where Basaldua worked. The conspirators intended to use the stolen information to quicken the process of obtaining Federal Aviation Administration certification for another company’s product.
“Basaldua chose to steal the secrets of a U.S. company rather than commit to putting in the money and hard work that is necessary to succeed, and for that he will pay,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI takes the theft of intellectual property very seriously, and we will not allow anyone to circumvent the system by using deceptive practices to steal protected information.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer G. Solari and Steven H. Lee.