An engineer from Argentina has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for passing confidential information about Intel's manufacturing plans for the Pentium processor to Advanced Micro Devices while he was working for Intel.
Guillermo Gaede, 43, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property, also must pay a US$1000 fine.
While working for Intel's Chandler, Arizona, facility in 1993, Gaede used his home computer to access Intel's database, according to the US Attorney's office. He then videotaped confidential designs and mailed the information, valued at between US$10 million and US$20 million, to AMD, which promptly turned it over to Intel, according to officials.
Gaede fled to Argentina after Intel learned of his activities, but returned to Arizona last year and was living in Phoenix when he was arrested.
"This is one of the more interesting cases that we've had," Tony West, assistant US Attorney in San Jose, California, says. "It's unusual in a couple of respects, not just in how Gaede obtained the information, but in the outcome. Thirty-three months in prison is one of the longest sentences ever given for an industrial espionage case such as this, so we're pleased."
An Intel spokeswoman says her company is satisfied with the outcome, as well. "We are happy that intellectual property rights issues are being taken to court," says Barbara Lopez.
Gaede previously had boasted of having given confidential Intel information to China, North Korea, Iraq and Cuba.
He also claimed the CIA asked him to spy on Cuba at one point, but federal officials deny the allegation.