Bixby Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets
OKLAHOMA CITY – Today, JOSHUA DECKER, 37, of Bixby, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal trade secrets from an oil and gas company, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.
On May 26, 2021, the government filed against Decker a one-count Superseding Information charging him with conspiracy to steal, download, and possess trade secrets. According to the Superseding Information, Decker was a controller for the valve division of an oil and gas company that serves customers engaged in drilling and production. With its valve operations headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company manufactures compact manifold ball valves sold across the United States. In March 2017, while employed as the controller at the company, Decker registered with the Oklahoma Secretary of State a new company called Legacy Valve Systems (“Legacy”). He then recruited co-workers at the victim company to join him at Legacy.
The Superseding Information alleges that from March to September 2017, Decker conspired to steal numerous trade secrets from the victim company. Specifically, it alleges Decker and others acting at his direction downloaded the technical drawings, material specifications, and manufacturing instructions for the victim company’s valves, and Decker transmitted the victim company’s detailed financial information—including cost information and sales by product and customer—by email to himself. The Superseding Information further alleges that Decker provided the victim company’s drawings to an individual who copied them and replaced the victim company’s logo with a Legacy logo to begin manufacturing and selling valves to compete with the victim company. Decker then allegedly directed others to delete all their text messages and files, including messages on an encrypted application, to conceal their theft from the victim company.
At today’s hearing, Decker pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal trade secrets. Decker admitted that the victim company undertook several measures to protect their information as trade secrets. Decker admitted that he, along with others, planned to take and use the drawings of the victim company’s valves to create products for Legacy. He also admitted that he possessed many of the drawings on his own laptop. Decker also admitted that he instructed those working with him to delete their communications about the drawings they took.
At sentencing, Decker faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, restitution to the victim company, and up to three years of supervised release.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys K. McKenzie Anderson and Daniel Gridley.
Reference is made to court filings for further information.