In August, federal prosecutors charged Biswamohan Pani, a former Intel Corp. engineer, with theft of trade secrets from his former employer, Intel.  This week, a Massachusetts grand jury added four new counts of wire fraud.  If convicted, Pani could serve up to 10 years in prison for the theft of trade secrets count, and up to 20 years on each count of wire fraud.

Federal prosecutors in Massachusetts allege that after Pani resigned from Intel in May 2008, he downloaded confidential documents and trade secrets worth $1 billion, including new microprocessor chip designs. Pani accessed the internal Intel network via his Intel-issued laptop, downloading “mission-critical” documents.

It is reported that Pani told his supervisors that he was leaving Intel to work for a hedge fund, but in reality he had accepted a job months earlier with Intel’s main competitor, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., and began working there days after his resignation from Intel, but while still employed by Intel.  For a brief period, Pani was on both AMD’s and Intel’s payrolls due to accrued, unused vacation time at Intel.  Intel owns 80% of the worldwide market for microprocessors, and AMD owns the rest.

An FBI search of Pani’s home recovered eight Intel documents classified as “secret,” “top secret,” and “confidential.” Pani told FBI investigators that he planned to give the information to his wife, who also works for Intel. AMD is not accused of any misconduct, and there is no evidence that AMD had any involvement in or awareness of Pani’s actions.  Pani, of course, is no longer employed by AMD.