Trade Secret Theft by Former Employee
By Dhina Clement, Marketing –
Jean Patrice Delia, performance engineer at General Electric Company (GE) pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal trade secrets from the company to launch his own company to compete against GE. Delia and his business partner Sernas downloaded over 800 files, including trade secrets before he got caught. Off course, after 8 years of working for GE, who would have suspected him, unless he made some errors along the way. As a performance engineer at GE, Delia helped many plant operators around the world increase the efficiency of their turbines to lower plant’s operating cost. So obviously he knew details about the process that could help him succeed if he were to have his own company. In 2009 he decided to pursue a graduate business degree in his country Canada and returned to GE in 2011 in a different role. After his return, he started downloading thousands of files from GE’s system that contained the cost models and proposals that GE used to bid. In May 2012, as soon as he had an opportunity, he bid against GE to service a major power plant in Saudi Arabia. When GE suspected him, he resigned and the FBI started investigating him. It took the FBI 7 years to come up with evidence of duplicity and federal violations against Delia and Sernas. In December 2019, Sernas was caught with a laptop containing GE secret files on it and received time served and was ordered to pay restitution of $1.4 million to GE. Delia pleaded guilty and is looking to face 87 months in prison.
To help the FBI “protect the investments and innovations of American companies,” like the Assistant US attorney said, the promising EyeDetect® technology could be used to continuously evaluate all personnel, like Delia who had access to classified information. The test measures deception based on ocular-motor behavior, as the person taking the EyeDetect exam sits at a desk and answers true-or-false questions on a tablet. In less than 5 minutes after the test, proprietary algorithms would provide a credible or deceptive score with a mean accuracy as high as 90%, making the test faster and more accurate than polygraph. The FBI might have needed more evidence but with Eyedetect, they would detect faster whether Delia and Sernas were guilty from the get go and convict them earlier.
Photo by /Cleyder Duque