FBI: Arlington Heights Man Charged With Theft of Trade Secrets

Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)–  Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced today the arrest of a northwest suburban man for the theft of trade secrets from his former employer, the Valspar Corporation.

DAVID YEN LEE, age 52, of 400 West Rand Road in Arlington Heights, Illinois, was arrested yesterday morning at his residence, without incident, by FBI Special Agents.  LEE was charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of Theft of a Trade Secret, which is a felony offense.

According to the complaint, LEE was employed by the Valspar Corporation, a leading manufacturer of paints and industrial coatings, as the Technical Director of New Product Development for their Architectural Group, located at 1191 Wheeling Road in northwest suburban Wheeling.  LEE began working for Valspar in May of 2006 and was responsible for new paint coloring and manufacturing technologies.

LEE, who is a naturalized U.S. Citizen of Chinese descent, abruptly resigned his employment with Valspar on March 16th of this year, just two weeks after returning from a business trip to the People’s Republic of China.  At the time of his resignation, LEE relinquished both his company issued laptop computer and AT&T Blackberry wireless device.

A subsequent examination of the laptop computer by Valspar network analysts discovered that all of the temporary files had been deleted, suggesting that LEE had taken steps to “clean” the computer’s history. Additional examination of the laptop discovered a hidden file, which contained unauthorized software programs, including a data copying program.  It was also discovered that approximately 44 gigabytes of data, including Valspar trade secret information, had been downloaded to LEE’s computer without authorization.

Upon discovering these irregularities, the Valspar Corporation contacted the Chicago FBI, which immediately began a criminal investigation. This investigation, which included a court-authorized search of LEE’s residence, developed additional evidence linking LEE to the theft of trade secrets from the Valspar Corporation and the filing of the charge announced today.

In announcing the arrest of LEE, Mr. Grant noted that industrial espionage is a serious threat for the U.S. business community and a growing problem for law enforcement.  Mr. Grant added “The FBI has been aggressively working with businesses across the country to not only make them aware of this threat, but to encourage them to report suspect thefts and intrusions to the FBI for investigation.  The charge announced today is a perfect example of how this relationship should work.  The Valspar Corporation should be commended for their diligence in discovering and promptly reporting this suspect theft.”

LEE appeared earlier today before United States Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Shenkier in Chicago, at which time he was formally charged.  LEE was ordered held without bond, pending his next scheduled court appearance, and is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago.  If convicted of the charge filed against him, LEE faces a possible sentence of up to 10 years incarceration, a $250,000 fine or both.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Source: FBI.GOV