SAVANNAH, GA: Two California men have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in a conspiracy to steal aircraft design and testing information in order to shorten the regulatory approval process for a competing company’s technology.
Juan Martinez, 53, of Brea, California, was sentenced to 63 months in prison after being convicted in August 2023 in U.S. District Court in Savannah on one count of Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, while Joseph Pascua, 61, of Escondido, California, was sentenced to 86 months in prison after being convicted in February 2023 for Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets.
U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker also fined Martinez and Pascua $1,000 each and ordered them to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of their prison terms. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Ideas have value, especially when those ideas involve complex engineering designs such as those stolen by the participants in this conspiracy,” said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. “Our law enforcement partners did exceptional work to identify the members of this conspiracy and bringing them to justice.”
As the evidence showed at trial, Martinez was a contractor who worked as a technical lead for a small aeronautics company. With Pascua and the other conspirators, he launched a scheme to steal proprietary trade secret information from a large aircraft company for use in developing and marketing their own technology, with the intent to market and sell that technology to the true owner’s competitors.
Two other conspirators are serving federal prison terms after pleading guilty in the case. Craig German, 60, of Kernersville, North Carolina, is serving 70 months in prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets, plus 20 months for Perjury and False Statements to a Government Agency for providing false information during testimony given in his first sentencing. Gilbert Basaldua, 63, of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is serving 80 months in prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets and Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property.
“When companies invest huge amounts of time and money to develop technologies, only to have those technologies stolen, the results are devastating,” said Will Clarke, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent of FBI Atlanta’s Savannah office. “These defendants intended not only to enrich themselves but bypass the legally established system. This case should serve as a warning to those entrusted with valuable trade secrets: If you break the law, you will be punished.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Darron J. Hubbard and Jenna G. Solari.
Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422