Gary Min, the former DuPont employee who walked out the company's door with trade secrets valued at $400 million, yesterday was sentenced to 18 months in jail and a $30,000 fine. (See Insider Tries to Steal $400 Million at DuPont.)
According to an Associated Press report and Delaware newspapers, Min apologized prior to his sentencing for his "unwise behavior."
"It was, and is, the biggest mistake I ever made in my lifetime," he said. "Please give me the chance, your honor, to have the opportunity to show you my success and make you proud of the new man I have become."
Min faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, but federal guidelines called for a sentence between 24 and 37 months. In addition to the fine, Min is required to pay $14,500 in restitution.
While the fair market value of the confidential DuPont technology accessed by Min exceeds $400 million by some estimates, the government pegged DuPont's loss at about $180,500 in out-of-pocket expenses, according to AP. DuPont has previously filed a civil suit against Min, but claimed only $75,000 in damages.
Michael Mustokoff, the defense attorney, said there was a "huge gap" between the initial fears of DuPont's trade secrets being compromised and what the evidence actually showed.
"There's no scheme here, there's no money here, there's no greed factor here," Mustokoff told the judge, suggesting that Min's scientific curiosity may have gotten the best of him. "He is a man of intense curiosity. He is a scientist through and through," the attorney said.
Min's relatively light sentence is partly the result of prosecutors' inability to establish exactly what the scientist did with the information he took. Min downloaded more than 14,000 documents from the chemical giant, and took so much paper that he was forced to rent a storage unit and a separate apartment to hold all of the boxes. But prosecutors could not prove that he had shared the data with any other sources.
Min told arresting officers that he had planned to take the data with him to his new job at Victrex, a DuPont competitor. But Victrex officials say they never saw the documents and the company assisted police with Min's arrest.
"Dr. Min's judgment was certainly clouded... But there is no evidence that he set out on a path to hurt the company," Mustokoff said.
In a statement, DuPont senior vice president and general counsel Stacey Mobley said the company supports the sentence given Min and acknowledges Victrex for cooperating with federal authorities.
"Although we are troubled that Mr. Min violated the trust placed in him, the criminal and civil actions brought against him demonstrate the actions that we will take to preserve the integrity of our proprietary science and technology for the benefit of DuPont shareholders and customers," Mobley said.
"Judge Robinson underscored the importance of those actions by sentencing Mr. Min to federal prison and sent a clear signal to others who might consider committing similar crimes," Mobley stated.
Min was ordered to report to a federal probation office in his home state of Ohio, where he will serve his time.
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