She knew which database to query to download the information to her work laptop, and from there she emailed it to a personal account. Sometimes, she loaded a USB flash drive with material. Li, a Chinese national, then put the information up for sale through a pharmaceutical company that she partially owned, whose parent is based in China.
Sanofi helped investigators from the FBI and the U.S. attorney in New Jersey to prosecute Li. In January, she pleaded guilty to theft of trade secrets and is due to be sentenced this month. She faces up to 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
Sanofi declines to be interviewed about the technology and policies it uses to detect and prevent corporate crime, including Li's long-term theft. "The measures we had in place actually contributed to the successful outcome of this particular case, and we are continuously looking for ways to improve security," a spokesman said in an emailed statement.