Former Intel Employee Pleads Guilty to Stealing Documents

In the latest example of crime not paying, a former Intel employee named Biswamohan Pani pleaded guilty this week on five charges of fraud stemming from his theft of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of design documents from the chipmaker.

According to Bloomberg, Pani gave Intel his two weeks’ notice on May 29, 2008, and he retained his employee access to Intel data until June 11; however, he started at AMD on June 2. During that overlap, Pani helped himself to documents that Intel valued at $200-$400 million, presumably to further his career at AMD.

Intel discovered and reported the theft quickly, and to AMD’s credit, the company apparently was not aware of Pani’s activities and fully cooperated with authorities in the investigation.

Pani, 36, worked at Intel’s facility in Hudson, Massachusetts and was arrested in 2008. His sentencing is scheduled for August 8, where he’s looking at potentially 20 years in jail for each of the five counts against him.
Via:  Bloomberg
Tags:  AMD, Intel, Theft, Misc, Pani
3vi1 2 years ago

>> "documents that Intel valued at $200-$400 million"

I won't say that this guy doesn't deserve prison time for what he did, but I really have play devil's advocate and question any muli-million dollar number that varies as greatly in potential lower to upper range as it does from $0.

I'm willing to bet that Intel has some valuable cutting-edge knowledge in the areas of manufacturing and design that is worth something. But, could there really be anything in those docs that puts them 2000 man-years ahead of what this guy and AMD already know?

I wonder if Intel patented the processes that are discussed in the docs, and if that could be used to argure that the docs therefore cost Intel zero dollars as they had already made the info public?

marco c 2 years ago

I'm with the 3vi1-one. This guy shouldn't be let of the hook, but I doubt that claimed value as well. Heck, I wonder if any company but Intel could even manufacture whatever was in the docs.

JDoughertyJr 2 years ago

So what, we should thank him for pointing out the weakness of Intel's security?

3vi1 2 years ago

Well, maybe: Reportedly he was a 'low level' employee and he downloaded *13* documents that were internally classified as "Top Secret" to his Intel-issued laptop, though he doesn't appear to have used any hacking to get them.

So, either Intel is piss-poor at deciding who gets "top secret" documents, or they are overvaluing them now and using the legal system in order to stop another employee from going to the competition. Oh yeah... apparently, Intel just went on a dirt-hunt after they found this guy was leaving for AMD - and decided that even though he violated no internal security policies it was worth reporting to the FBI as a burglary.

Theft of trade secrets is like 10-years max, so Intel added four counts of wire fraud (@20 years each) for remotely connecting to their network with his Intel-issued laptop while he was still an Intel employee. That seems less in the interest of justice and more in the interest of ruining the guys life permanently for a failed half-assed attempt at corporate espionage.

Super Dave 2 years ago

[quote user="News"]pleaded guilty this week on five charges of fraud stemming from his theft of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of design documents from the chipmaker.[/quote]

This isn't fraud - it's KARMA! Remember the AMD vs. Intel antitrust lawsuit that cost Intel $1.25 billion?Surprise

3vi1 2 years ago

It actually sounds like AMD is coming out ahead by not employing this sort of person (who might very well load up on their documents too and combine the best of both for his own startup), so I'm not sure it's karma on anyone but himself.

But, you'd be surprised how many people think of taking documentation from one employer to the next as nothing. On multiple occasions I've been in technical interviews for new employees at my company, and they've tried to show off their skills by pulling out docs/diagrams with their last companies letterhead on them. 'Top secret' or not... the interview is over at that point and better luck to them somewhere else.

rapid1 2 years ago

This is the screwed up part. This guy is facing "potentially 20 years in jail for each of the five counts against him" and or 100 years in Jail. I could kill someone and walk with less than 20 years if it was a first offense in real time. If this person gets 1/4 of each of those 5 counts he will serve 25 years for stealing some documents which he was allowed access to as a general affiliate.

rapid1 2 years ago

I am not a violent individual in any way I am just saying that is a trumped up hogwash being played on our legal system in all reality.

realneil 2 years ago

I don't have a lot of pity for a thief, and that's what he is after all,.....................but I think that ~life~ in jail is not the correct adjudication in this matter.

What he could have used over at AMD is questionable at this point. AMD's capabilities are nowhere near what Big Blue's are, so could they have used his ill gotten booty?

WOULD they have used it? Who knows.

Intel is trying to make an example out of him and they seem to have the clout to do it too.

Pity the fool,............

mhenriday 2 years ago

The figures bandied about by Intel here are about as reliable as the fantasy sums claimed by the MPAA, RIAA, and other such organisations with respect to the damages they allegedly suffer from the downloading of copyrighted material. The fact that Mr Pani is now facing five counts at 20 years a pop for allegedly fraudulently downloading documents from Intel, while, to take just one example, a certain individual in the southeast of the US hasn't even been charged for wasting an unarmed 17-year-old boy says a great deal about the so-called «justice» system in that country....


realneil 2 years ago

It pisses me off that I have to agree with you on that.

But I do

rapid1 2 years ago

Yes I heard last night that Mr. Zimmerman is most definitely not in Florida and maybe not even in this country any more, as he was never held (and the fact that his father used to be a Judge in these circumstances seems very odd really) or charged with anything he could move as he wished. So the possibilities he is still in the US are doubtful at best. In relation to that and mhenriday's comments I have to agree to.

I posted a link this morning that was the first thing I saw on my homepage about a kid bringing a baggie of Heroin to school for show and tell. Not only has our system of justice but our moral back bone in all reality seemingly weakened in this country but I at many times question it's existence.

The bad part about this is I am not a judgmental individual who believes we in a free country should be allowed to live as we see fit as long as we do not bring harm to others. Then I from that stand point question our societal scale of decency seemingly on a daily basis now. That makes no sense!

This is much like the dept of Justice filing a suit today against Apple and a bunch of publishers for fixing the price of E-books so Amazon had to do what the group said to do on prices. I knew about that when it happened because Amazon was contesting Apple and the publishing friends in many places on the web when the iPad's were first released. Why was nothing done when I as a general citizen knew about it and no one did anything at that time, then 3 years down the road they file a suit, really! I have learned when things like this BS INTEL is pulling are over looked that in the end the large scale system of justice, morality, and general fair play from a business and personal stand point are weakened. Yet in general society just bumbles along and the government of course does nothing or enough to amount to the same about it.

JHempenius 2 years ago

I think the high suit amount is attributed to the fact that Justice can only be done on the basis of some sort of damage suffered by plaintiff. Defendant is American and deserves to know better that Gaining employee or AMD is now working with Intel to prevent any collateral damage on patent infringements Intel might file against AMD as a direct result of Pani's use of these documents.

And I think only a high sum such as this could justify that, off course it is up to the jury to define what kind of damage is aused and which on to which degree was the intent of Pani. i.e. Damaging Intel good will or purely benefiting his on employment at AMD.

I had this kind of employee before and it is justice done right I can tell you. If an employee wants to earn more money then they can embark on a multitude of ways such as the HR dept or buying corporate stocks / options. Intel is setting a good example that disloyal employees are not to be rewarded. AMD didn't send Pani to Intel?

mhenriday 2 years ago

Two points Mr «Hempenius» (if, indeed, that is your real name) : 1) What burder of proof is placed upon Intel to demonstrate that it indeed suffered damages to the extent of 200 - 400 million USD due to Mr Pani's actions ? Until evidence is presented showing that these figures are correct, or at least reasonable, most rational observers will assume that they are a fiction presented by Intel in order to convince the court that they have suffered greatly and that the perpetrator must be severely punished - pour encourager les autres, as Voltaire famously put it - and, not least to establish some sort of (in my opinion, fraudulent) baseline for a possible future lawsuit against AMD....

2) The main issue here, however, is not Intel's absurd damage claims, but the fact that, according to the article, Mr Pani is facing five charges, for each of which he could be sentenced to 20 years in prison, i e, his sentence could be as long as 100 years in prison, in the event that he is indeed judged guilty to all of them, receives the maximum sentences, and these are to run consecutively rather than concurrently. 100 years in prison for illegally downloading documents from a former employer - who obviously did not perform due diligence and allowed this employee access to internal documents during a period of some two weeks after termination ?!! If this be justice, than it demonstrates that the purpose of the justice system is primarily to protect the wealth of the super-rich ; not surprisingly, given that these latter have purchased the legislators who, with the help of the lobbyist organisations who draught the bills, determine what the law is....

You claim to be from «Intel Processors» (at least that is how you are represented in the notification I received from HotHardware), but I suspect that Intel would make certain that anyone representing the firm possessed a better command of the English language than that evinced in your post above. Moreover, I doubt that Intel would wish to take responsibility for your last comment, «AMD didn't send Pani to Intel ?». Who are you, Mr «Hempenius» ?...


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