WASHINGTON D.C. (March 9, 2009)—The U.S. Department of Justice has charged two engineers at Wyko Tire Technology Inc., alleging they conspired to steal trade secrets from Goodyear and schemed to defraud Goodyear of confidential and proprietary information.
Clark Alan Roberts and Sean Edward Howley were arrested March 6 and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley.
According to the indictment, returned on March 3, Wyko secured a contract in early 2007 with Haohau South China Guilin Rubber Co. Ltd., a Chinese tire maker located in Guilin, China, to supply tire manufacturing equipment for use in producing large OTR tires.
The Department of Justice alleges that in late May 2007, Roberts and Howley traveled to Goodyear's Topeka, Kan., tire factory. The defendants are being accused of misrepresenting the reasons for their visit and using a cell phone to surreptitiously photograph proprietary OTR tire manufacturing equipment.
According to the indictment, the defendants later e-mailed the unauthorized photographs, which contained valuable trade secret information, to employees at Wyko's headquarters offices in Dudley, England, who then used the photographs to complete a similar piece of tire manufacturing machinery for the Haohau contract.
The indictment charges one count of conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, seven counts of theft of trade secrets, three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted of all charges, the defendants each face a maximum of 150 years in prison and $2.75 million in fines.