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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

Friday, February 8, 2013

Magnolia Man Sent To Prison For Attempted Theft Of Trade Secrets

HOUSTON - Steven Thomas Stancil, 52, of Magnolia, has landed in federal prison following his conviction for attempted theft of trade secrets, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Stancil entered a plea of guilty Nov. 8, 2012.

Today, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake, who accepted the plea, handed Stancil a 10-month sentence – five months to be served in federal prison and the remaining to be served on house arrest. He will be required to serve a term of three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term and to complete 200 hours of community service.

Stancil was employed by Mogas Industries Inc. in Houston as a cost analyst from January 2006 until April 2010. Mogas is a manufacturer of specialty valves for the oil and gas industry and sells its products throughout the United States and internationally. In January 2010, Stancil started downloading proprietary company information onto his company computer. He later transferred this information without authorization onto his personal computer at his home in Magnolia.

In March 2010, Stancil purported to be a Mogas co-worker and sent emails to approximately eight Mogas competitors offering to sell proprietary Mogas information. The emails asked what it would be worth to have the entire Mogas database which would include all drawings and designs, customer contacts, vendors, pricing and more. Stancil then asked them to respond to work out the arrangements.

Later in March 2010, Stancil emailed a Mogas competitor and offered to sell Mogas’s “customers, costing, engineering, marketing, drawings, and so on” for $50,000 to $100,000. He stated that the information he would provide would help the Mogas competitor to expand their business and “potentially bring in extremely large amounts of income . . .” Stancil cautioned the Mogas competitor that the negotiations had to be handled carefully because Stancil had “a lot to lose if this comes out in any way.”

In September 2010, a federal search warrant on Stancils’s email account revealed he had emailed a Mogas competitor 20 files that contained images of schematic drawings and measurements of valve parts manufactured by Mogas. The drawings were altered to replace the icon of Mogas with the icon of another company.

Previously released on bond, Stancil was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The operation was a combined effort conducted by the FBI and the Houston Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark McIntyre.

Updated April 30, 2015