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Ex-Intel Employee Jailed for Stealing Company Secrets

By - Source: Bay News 9 | B 27 comments

A man was finally sentenced to three years in federal prison for stealing Intel secrets back in 2008.

On Wednesday in Boston, Massachusetts, 36-year-old Biswamohan Pani was sentenced to three years in federal prison for allegedly stealing company secrets from Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel. Pani, who back in April pleaded guilty to five counts of stealing trade secrets and wire fraud for violating Intel's confidentiality agreements, was also sentenced to two years of probation and given a $17,500 fine.

According to prosecutors, Pani, a former design engineer at Intel, downloaded secret documents from the chip giant back in June 2008 while supposedly using his final vacation time. Pani officially resigned from the company's Hudson, Mass. office in May, but had also gained employment with rival chipmaker AMD in March 2008, essentially stealing the documents while on both Intel and AMD payrolls months later.

In co-operation with the FBI, AMD later said that it was unaware of Pani's sensitive payload or his Intel employment. The FBI eventually determined that the company had no part in the actual theft, nor was there any evidence that Pani actually shared the information with AMD or any other company. The stolen documents were supposedly for his own use, the FBI said, so that he could advance his career in AMD or elsewhere by referencing it when needed.

"Pani had remotely accessed and downloaded top secret Intel documents from the [Intel] system between June 8 and June 10, 2008, when he was not working on projects for Intel and was purportedly on vacation," FBI Special Agent Timothy Russell of the Boston FBI cyber crimes squad wrote in an affidavit.

Intel reportedly said that after Pani's departure, it suspected he stole documents valued between $200 million and $400 million USD. Intel contacted the local authorities after obtaining substantial proof of the theft.

"The downloaded documents included mission-critical documents describing in detail the process Intel uses for designing its newest generation of microprocessors," the FBI affidavit alleged. "They included confidential and proprietary business information that also constitutes trade secrets."

 

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  • 21 Hide
    dalethepcman , August 9, 2012 9:51 PM
    Steal 200 million from microsoft, get 3 years and a 17k fine. Steal $1000 from the liquor store, get 20 years and a bullet...
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    straw_hat , August 9, 2012 9:47 PM
    And yet when a companies does this - no one pays - how much has been stolen from the public purse for example and yet no one has paid.
  • 21 Hide
    dalethepcman , August 9, 2012 9:51 PM
    Steal 200 million from microsoft, get 3 years and a 17k fine. Steal $1000 from the liquor store, get 20 years and a bullet...
  • 1 Hide
    catbus1 , August 9, 2012 9:58 PM
    I don't see how anyone would equate the theft of $200 million+ to 3 years in prison.

    This is just going to encourage employee theft while a disgusting scumbag gets off light to just do it again.
  • 1 Hide
    irh_1974 , August 9, 2012 10:05 PM
    catbus1I don't see how anyone would equate the theft of $200 million+ to 3 years in prison.This is just going to encourage employee theft while a disgusting scumbag gets off light to just do it again.

    Because he didn't steal $200 million, he stole data to the value of, and he never got to use it.

    Plus 3 years in the pen for this pampered office guy will be like 20 years on the chain gang when the gangstas and drug dealers have a party in his cell, he's gonna be walking like John Wayne for the rest of his life.
  • 9 Hide
    greghome , August 9, 2012 10:18 PM
    dalethepcmanSteal 200 million from microsoft, get 3 years and a 17k fine. Steal $1000 from the liquor store, get 20 years and a bullet...

    The one that got it worst was the owner of Megaupload.......... :( 
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , August 9, 2012 10:31 PM
    Sounds like a civil problem and not one that should have been handled with prison time.
  • 6 Hide
    CaedenV , August 9, 2012 10:54 PM
    catbus1I don't see how anyone would equate the theft of $200 million+ to 3 years in prison.This is just going to encourage employee theft while a disgusting scumbag gets off light to just do it again.

    if he had used the data in any way he would be facing life in prison. But as it is he will be in jail for 1 year (out early to make room for real criminals), and he will never be able to find a job in the tech industry ever again.
  • 3 Hide
    NuclearShadow , August 9, 2012 11:03 PM
    Corporate espionage is very much a real thing this makes me wonder if he was planning on making AMD a victim of the same act. There very much could be a unknown third party involved in this that he could have or intended to share the info with.
  • -2 Hide
    nebun , August 9, 2012 11:18 PM
    straw_hatAnd yet when a companies does this - no one pays - how much has been stolen from the public purse for example and yet no one has paid.

    you got it all wrong...this is different, much different
  • 8 Hide
    kitekrazy1963 , August 9, 2012 11:46 PM
    dns7950I refuse to believe AMD would hire one of Intel's design engineers without knowing he worked for Intel.. That's the kind of thing you put on your resume.. Since they're probably lying about that, i would hazard a guess that they also knew he had stolen sensitive documents.. Shame on AMD. I'm glad I've never bought an AMD processor and never will. Makes me laugh that they get stolen documents from Intel, and their processors still suck compared to Intel


    Over react much?
  • 5 Hide
    cRACKmONKEY421 , August 10, 2012 12:10 AM
    Why drag the hamburglar's image through the mud? He only steals crappy burgers, and he's American.

    I love when these companies face problems trying to save money on hiring people with the h-1b visa. Not sure if these tech companies that mostly import employees are any better than just moving the whole company overseas. Hard to believe that it's not possible to build the same quality products without bringing in employees from other countries. It would probably cost a bit more, and that's why they do it. I say tax the company $30k more per year per h-1b visa. Level the playing field and bring money back into the government.

    Enough of my rant, sorry.
  • 3 Hide
    sykozis , August 10, 2012 12:16 AM
    dns7950I refuse to believe AMD would hire one of Intel's design engineers without knowing he worked for Intel.. That's the kind of thing you put on your resume.. Since they're probably lying about that, i would hazard a guess that they also knew he had stolen sensitive documents.. Shame on AMD. I'm glad I've never bought an AMD processor and never will. Makes me laugh that they get stolen documents from Intel, and their processors still suck compared to Intel

    Considering AMD cooperated with the FBI during their investigation, I'm sure if AMD had received any of the data, it would have been found. Also, AMD had no way of knowing for sure that he was still employed by Intel without him admitting to it. I'm sure the FBI looked at his employee file during the investigation. You're just too much an Intel fanboy to ever figure out how much information was actually collected during the federal investigation. I'm sure AMD knew he had worked for Intel as that would have been on his resume....but given that the federal investigator stated that AMD didn't know Pani was employed by Intel while working for AMD, I'm sure he listed his employment end date as prior to gaining employment with AMD.
  • 2 Hide
    f-14 , August 10, 2012 12:37 AM
    straw_hatAnd yet when a companies does this - no one pays - how much has been stolen from the public purse for example and yet no one has paid.

    trillions upon trillions, only our present and former congress members and aides know.
  • -1 Hide
    f-14 , August 10, 2012 12:44 AM
    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/indian-in-us-under-probe-for-stealing-intel-secrets/73774-3.html
    video included, "Indian charged with stealing Intel secrets"
    New Delhi: An Indian software engineer in the US has been charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for stealing trade secrets of software giant Intel Corp.
    Thirty-three year old Biswamohan Pani joined chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) after resigning from Intel.
    The FBI reportedly found some sensitive documents at his home including design plans for future processor chips.
    During a raid at Pani's home on July 1, the FBI recovered eight Intel documents and 19 CAD drawings. All the documents and drawing were classified as confidential, secret, or top secret.
    He denied any charges of theft, but he surrendered his passport to US authorities. He claimed that he had taken the documents and drawing only to help tutor his wife Vandana Padhi in her new job.
    He has not been arrested but case is being tried at the US District Court in Boston.
    Bishwamohan's father Brundaban Pani, who lives in Bhubaneshwar, claimed that his son was innocent
    "My son is innocent and the Indian government should help us to bring him back," Brundaban Pani said.
    hire foreign, you get what you pay for including their morals and loyalty.
  • -5 Hide
    derekullo , August 10, 2012 3:01 AM
    Title Should Read: Ex-Intel Employee Jailed for Stealing Company Secrets, AMD Given False Hope
  • 4 Hide
    ojas , August 10, 2012 7:31 AM
    cRACKmONKEY421Why drag the hamburglar's image through the mud? He only steals crappy burgers, and he's American.I love when these companies face problems trying to save money on hiring people with the h-1b visa. Not sure if these tech companies that mostly import employees are any better than just moving the whole company overseas. Hard to believe that it's not possible to build the same quality products without bringing in employees from other countries. It would probably cost a bit more, and that's why they do it. I say tax the company $30k more per year per h-1b visa. Level the playing field and bring money back into the government.Enough of my rant, sorry.

    Well, if local employees aren't up to the mark, companies might stand to lose more than gain.

    You know, being India, it's embarrassing every time something like this happens. However, your comment was just a cry-baby like. It's harder for us to get into companies like Intel, they place higher requirements on us.

    Even colleges. If i had tried to join an undergrad course at an Ivy League college i'd have to have an almost perfect SAT score (2200 and above), with additional requirements.

    So wtf is up with "OMG foreigners!".
  • 1 Hide
    cRACKmONKEY421 , August 10, 2012 8:08 AM
    ojasWell, if local employees aren't up to the mark, companies might stand to lose more than gain.You know, being India, it's embarrassing every time something like this happens. However, your comment was just a cry-baby like. It's harder for us to get into companies like Intel, they place higher requirements on us. Even colleges. If i had tried to join an undergrad course at an Ivy League college i'd have to have an almost perfect SAT score (2200 and above), with additional requirements.So wtf is up with "OMG foreigners!".


    Companies obviously do gain by hiring foreigners, that's why they do it. You shouldn't be embarrassed by what one Indian guy does. I was just surprised to see a white guy outside of management at Intel when I saw the picture on this article. A google search solidified my thoughts that most companies around here hire foreign engineers. An american citizen could have just as easily stolen secret information; that's not my point. Just raises an interesting fact. Have you ever been to Intel? Judging by the number of foreigners, your kids would be much more likely to be hired at Intel if they were born in India. Unless they're trying for management.

    The thing we should be asking ourselves is "Why do we not have enough good engineers locally?" or "Why is it so much cheaper to bring in foreign engineers?". That's the real issue. I have no problem with foreigners, though you sound lame.
  • 1 Hide
    aracheb , August 10, 2012 2:44 PM
    ojasWell, if local employees aren't up to the mark, companies might stand to lose more than gain.You know, being India, it's embarrassing every time something like this happens. However, your comment was just a cry-baby like. It's harder for us to get into companies like Intel, they place higher requirements on us. Even colleges. If i had tried to join an undergrad course at an Ivy League college i'd have to have an almost perfect SAT score (2200 and above), with additional requirements.So wtf is up with "OMG foreigners!".

    I seriously doubt that local employee are not up to the task and I'm a immigrant . While i had met a lot of lazy, laid back, Seat warmer, under performer Americans. I also had met a lot of Exceptionally bright ones I pretty much doubt that local Employee are not up to the task, they are just more expensive to hire than bringing in foreigners
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , August 10, 2012 2:57 PM
    cRACKmONKEY421Companies obviously do gain by hiring foreigners, that's why they do it. You shouldn't be embarrassed by what one Indian guy does. I was just surprised to see a white guy outside of management at Intel when I saw the picture on this article. A google search solidified my thoughts that most companies around here hire foreign engineers. An american citizen could have just as easily stolen secret information; that's not my point. Just raises an interesting fact. Have you ever been to Intel? Judging by the number of foreigners, your kids would be much more likely to be hired at Intel if they were born in India. Unless they're trying for management.The thing we should be asking ourselves is "Why do we not have enough good engineers locally?" or "Why is it so much cheaper to bring in foreign engineers?". That's the real issue. I have no problem with foreigners, though you sound lame.

    Lol i'm more likely to be hired by Intel than my kids, i'm only 19 and a year into electronics engineering :D 
    I know, a lot of asians at intel.

    It's embarrassing because right now the image India's giving of being a scandal/corruption hub is really quite sad, and what i'm reading is businesses and institutions don't like it here anymore because it's so difficult to get past red tape and politics. Then you have employees. Read about Adidas?
    Anyway I can only hope my generation has more sense. It's a great country, sadly corruption has got the better of us.

    arachebI seriously doubt that local employee are not up to the task and I'm a immigrant . While i had met a lot of lazy, laid back, Seat warmer, under performer Americans. I also had met a lot of Exceptionally bright ones I pretty much doubt that local Employee are not up to the task, they are just more expensive to hire than bringing in foreigners

    True, never said americans were not up to it. Just said that it's not that all foreigners are undesirable.
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