Ex-Coca-Cola Engineer Sentenced to Prison for Stealing Trade Secrets

Takeaway: Stealing trade secrets in the U.S. is a serious crime that may be punishable with a lengthy sentence and hefty fine.

Xiaorong You, an engineer who formerly worked at Coca-Cola Co. in Tennessee, had access to valuable trade secrets related to bisphenol-A-free soda can coatings. According to U.S. prosecutors, You obtained trade secrets information and sent them to Chinese businessman Liu Xiangchen with the intent to compete against Coca-Cola. After being found guilty of stealing the precious trade secrets, she was sentenced to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay a $200,000 fine and nearly $11,500 in restitution.

The DOJ’s National Security Division said, “As the evidence at trial showed, You stole valuable trade secrets and intended to use them to benefit not only a foreign company, but also the government of China. Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness of this offense, as well as the Department of Justice’s commitment to protect our nation’s security by investigating and prosecuting those who steal U.S. companies’ intellectual property.”