Former Intel employee pleads guilty to stealing documents

The employee downloaded the confidential documents while on the rolls of both Intel and AMD

A former Intel employee has pleaded guilty to stealing confidential documents from the company, according to court records.

Biswamohan Pani has pleaded guilty to five counts relating to the illegal download of confidential documents from Intel's servers, according to a plea agreement entered last week between Pani and Carmen M. Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

Pani, an employee of Intel's Massachusetts Microprocessor Development Center, working on the design of Itanium processors, is said to have resigned from Intel on May 29, 2008, and took leave from Intel up to June 11, purportedly to use accrued vacation time.

Pani however joined Intel's rival Advanced Micro Devices on June 2, while still on Intel's payroll, and continuing to have access to Intel's servers. He returned to Intel on June 11 for an exit interview on what was to be his last day at Intel, according to his indictment in 2008.

From June 8 through June 11, Pani downloaded 13 "top secret" Intel design documents from the company's servers in California, according to the indictment. He copied them from his Intel-issued laptop to an external drive to have access to the documents after he returned the laptop to Intel. He is said to have tried to access the servers again around June 13 after he found that he could not access the documents offline because he had not completed the procedure required for viewing the encrypted documents offline.

AMD neither requested the information that Pani had downloaded and kept from Intel, nor knew that Pani had taken or would take the information, according to the indictment. Pani is said to have downloaded the documents to further his career at AMD or someplace else when the opportunity arose.

In the filing before the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts last week, Ortiz recommended six years of incarceration for Pani to the court, instead of the maximum of 20 years on each count, because among other things the government has no evidence that Pani used, sold, transferred, or offered the proprietary information, or any direct evidence of specifically how he intended to use the information.

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