On February 29, 2008, Allen Cotten pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to stealing microwave technologies from his former employer, Genesis Microwave, Inc., and selling or offering them for sale to foreign governments and military contractors. In a scheme that lasted two years, Cotten downloaded confidential information from Genesis computers, including plans, designs, and specifications for microwave technologies that, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, have military applications such as “enhancing navigation and guidance capabilities, radar jamming, electronic countermeasures, and the ability to locate and pinpoint enemy signals during warfare.” Cotten also stole mechanical parts and hardware made with the confidential plans belonging to Genesis, and both sold and offered to sell those components to foreign governments and military contractors. At his sentencing hearing in May, Cotten faces up to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.
Cotton’s illegal activities were uncovered by the Export Enforcement Task Force comprised of various federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, and the armed services. The task force was created to detect, investigate, and prosecute cases involving the theft or export of sensitive technology.