KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 31, 2011)—Two former engineers with Wyko Tire Technology Inc. have been sentenced to four years' probation and 150 hours of community service, eight months after being convicted in Knoxville federal district court of 10 felony counts connected with stealing trade secrets from Goodyear.
Clark A. Roberts and Scott E. Howley were convicted of charges including conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, unlawful photography of trade secrets, transmittal of trade secrets, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The two men faced maximum sentences of 10 years in prison for each trade secrets count, 20 years for each wire fraud count and $2.5 million in fines. Federal prosecutors had sought sentences of at least 10 months for Roberts and Howley.
Judge Thomas W. Phillips, however, passed the lighter sentences because Roberts and Howley had committed no previous crimes and because of the character witnesses called on their behalf.
Phillips also sentenced Roberts and Howley to four months' house arrest except for work and a few other exceptions. He fined each man $1,000, but waived the fines because of their inability to pay.
Earlier, Phillips had excluded the testimony of Tom Frey, an expert witness for Goodyear who attempted to quantify the financial damage Goodyear suffered from the industrial espionage of Roberts and Howley. Frey's testimony was speculative and not supported by documentation, the judge ruled.
W. Thomas Dillard, an attorney for Roberts, declined comment on the sentencing.
In a prepared statement, Goodyear said it was satisfied with the verdict in the trial. “The company took the actions it believed necessary to protect its innovative technology and intellectual property,” the company said. It thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. District Attorney's office in Knoxville for their support.