Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 11/07/2007 10:30:00 AM

GUYS GONE WILD!!! Father-Son Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets

By Todd
The Watergate bunglers are Exhibit A in break-in failures. John Norris and Matthew Norris are Exhibit B. And now the latter have had to cop a guilty plea like the former.

John K. Norris admitted in his plea that after leaving The Imperial Group -- a company that bids on U.S. General Services Administration building projects -- he established his own competing business and hired his son. John K. Norris and Co. and The Imperial Group submitted competing bids to build and manage a structure to house an office of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Centro, Dembin said.

John K. Norris admitted that he decided to break into his former employer's office to determine what they had bid on the project, and convinced his son to help. On March 23, John and Matthew Norris conducted a practice run. With Matthew standing outside the building keeping watch, John K. Norris took a master key from the janitor's closet servicing The Imperial Group's offices and determined that it worked in The Imperial Group's door.

On April 8, again with his son standing guard outside, John K. Norris used the master key to enter the offices of The Imperial Group and searched for the records of that company's bid on the El Centro project. Unbeknownst to the defendants, the practice run on March 23 was captured on a hallway surveillance camera designed to monitor janitorial staff performance. The janitorial supervisor viewed the practice break-in and reported it to The Imperial Group.

In response, The Imperial Group removed the documents of its pending bid from its offices and installed its own surveillance system. On April 8, the hallway camera captured John K. Norris entering the hallway and janitor's closet, but he shielded his face with a piece of cardboard. The Imperial Group's surveillance system, however, captured him rifling their files, Dembin said.

These cases are getting more and more interesting.

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