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Theft of trade secrets leads to criminal charges

A former researcher has pleaded guilty to criminal charges after it was learned that he hid the theft of trade secrets from his employer. A co-worker apparently stole trade secrets, and this man helped him by hiding computers with evidence of the crime. The two men were employed by Citadel LLC, a hedge fund company. Both men faced criminal charges and entered guilty pleas, and now both are awaiting sentencing.

The researcher recently entered a guilty plea for obstruction of justice, and if sentenced, he could face up to 16 months in prison. The employee was in charge of researching and developing investment strategies, giving him the ability to assist his colleague in hiding the crime. New Mexico readers will note that some of the trade secrets stolen included investment strategies developed by the man.

It is also believed that, in addition to the investment strategies, one of the men also downloaded -- for his own personal use -- certain algorithms and information that are unique to Citadel LLC. When the men were caught, law enforcement found the computers that contained the incriminating evidence. The man who stole the information also admitted that he had stolen trade secrets from a previous employer. This case emphasizes the serious nature of stealing or improperly using trade secrets and intellectual property.

Protecting trade secrets is an important consideration for a company of any type or size. This information can be vital to the success of a company, and theft of this information is against federal law. To prevent losing valuable intellectual property, New Mexico companies would be wise to carefully evaluate all practices and consider protections such as non-disclosure agreements.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Former hedge fund researcher pleads guilty to helping colleague hide trade-secret thefts", Jason Meisner, Aug. 12, 2014

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