Sunday, February 28, 2010, 2/28/2010 09:29:00 PM

Home Depot Trade Secrets Thief Sentenced to Four Months

By Todd

A Forsyth County, North Carolina man has been sentenced in connection with federal charges that he stole trade secrets from his former employer, Home Depot.


Guillermo Martinez, 47, was sentenced Wednesday to four months in federal prison and four months home confinement.Patrick Crosby, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, confirmed that U.S. District Judge Willis B. Hunt Jr. also ordered Martinez to serve three years probation and pay a $10,000 fine.


Martinez pleaded guilty in December to one count of stealing trade secrets from the company. According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in 2008, while working as a senior manager in product engineering for the home improvement retailer, Martinez provided a vendor with company trade secrets. “Specifically, Martinez gave out confidential and proprietary pricing information, including the price that the company was paying the vendor’s competitors for the products that the vendor wanted to sell to the company,” the statement said.


It goes on to say that Martinez gave the vendor documents submitted to Home Depot by competitors and that he was negotiating with the vendor for an employment agreement.


The FBI investigated the case.“Intellectual property-related cases are serious criminal cases with high dollar stakes,” said Greg Jones, FBI Atlanta special agent in charge. “The FBI understands the corporate concerns and the potential damages caused by such thefts and considers itself well suited to investigate and enforce these laws.”

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