3 arrested in Coca-Cola trade secret scheme
DOJ alleges that two Georgia residents and one New Yorker tried to sell trade secrets to PepsiCo for $1.5 million.
Two residents of Georgia and one resident of New York City are purported to have participated in the scheme to sell the Coke secrets to rival Pepsi for $1.5 million.
In May, PepsiCo told Coca-Cola that it had received a letter from a person calling himself "Dirk" offering "very detailed and confidential information" about Coke's products for a fee, according to the DOJ press release.
The FBI got its undercover agents involved in the case, and over the course of the next month gave the alleged con men manila envelopes with money in exchange for Coke secrets.
Ibrahim Dimson of New York and Edmund Duhaney and Joya Williams of Georgia were arrested in Atlanta on Wednesday without incident, and charged with wire fraud and unlawfully stealing and selling trade secrets. Williams was a Coca-Cola employee.
"Sadly, today's arrests include an individual within our company," said Coke CEO Neville Isdell in an email to employees. "While this breach of trust is difficult for all of us to accept, it underscores the responsibility we each have to be vigilant in protecting our trade secrets."
"Information is the lifeblood of the company," Isdell continued. "As the health of our enterprise continues to strengthen and the breadth of our innovation pipeline continues to grow, our ideas and our competitive data carry increasing interest to those outside our business."
A PepsiCo spokesman said that the company was pleased to be of assistance in the investigation.
"We did what any responsible company would do," said the spokesman. "Competition can be fierce, but it must also be fair and legal."
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