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Former Intel worker pleads guilty to theft

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg News

A former Boston area employee of Intel Corp. pleaded guilty Friday in US District Court to stealing $400 million worth of trade secrets from the computer chip maker. If convicted, Biswamohan Pani, 36, of Chelmsford could face up to 20 years in prison on each of five counts of fraud, and a $250,000 fine, according to the US attorney in Boston.

Pani worked as an engineer at Intel’s Hudson manufacturing and research facility until leaving the company in 2008 to work for competitor Advanced Micro Devices Inc. at its Boxborough operation. The Justice Department said Pani downloaded secret documents about Intel’s manufacturing and design process in May 2008, one day before telling the company he was leaving for another job. He did not tell Intel that he would be working for a competitor, according to the government.

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The Justice Department said he downloaded 13 of Intel’s “most valuable documents, along with other confidential and proprietary information, and a document explaining how encrypted documents could be reviewed when not connected to Intel’s computer system.’’

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recovered the documents soon after being informed about the theft from Intel in 2008. Pani was charged later that year. There was no evidence of AMD involvement in the theft. Pani will be sentenced in August.

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