Monday, March 30, 2009, 3/30/2009 09:46:00 AM

Chicago-Area Valspar Employee Arrested By FBI For Suspected Trade Secret Theft - Chinese Connection

By Todd

David Yen Lee, 52, was arrested at his home Thursday and ordered held without bail Friday in federal court in Chicago, the FBI said. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the felony offense. Lee, a naturalized U.S. citizen, worked for Minneapolis-based Valspar Corp., a maker of paints and industrial coatings.


Lee, former technical director of new product development for Valspar's architectural group, quit March 16—two weeks after returning from a business trip to China, the FBI said. When Valspar workers examined the company laptop computer and BlackBerry device he turned in when he resigned, they found that all temporary files had been deleted, suggesting he had "taken steps to clean his computer user history," a criminal complaint stated.

"Valspar found a hidden file containing unauthorized software programs including a data copying program," the complaint said. Also, data including Valspar trade secrets had been downloaded to the computer without authorization, the complaint stated. Lee had booked a one-way airline ticket from Chicago to Shanghai scheduled to depart Friday, authorities said

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