California Men Sentenced to Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Steal Aircraft Design Secrets

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Two California men have been sentenced to federal prison for their involvement in a conspiracy to steal aircraft design and testing information aimed at expediting the regulatory approval process for a competing company’s technology.

Juan Martinez, 53, of Brea, California, received a 63-month prison sentence after being convicted in August 2023 in U.S. District Court in Savannah for Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets. Joseph Pascua, 61, of Escondido, California, was sentenced to 86 months in prison after being convicted in February 2023 for the same charge.

Additionally, U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker imposed $1,000 fines on Martinez and Pascua each, and ordered them to serve three years of supervised release post-prison. No parole is granted in the federal system.

“Ideas have value, especially when those ideas involve complex engineering designs such as those stolen by the participants in this conspiracy,” remarked U.S. Attorney Jill E. Steinberg for the Southern District of Georgia. “Our law enforcement partners did exceptional work to identify the members of this conspiracy and bring them to justice.”

Evidence presented during trial revealed that Martinez, working as a contractor and technical lead for a small aeronautics company, conspired with Pascua and others to pilfer proprietary trade secret information from a major aircraft company. The intent was to employ the stolen data in developing and marketing their own technology, with the aim of selling it to the original company’s competitors.

Two additional conspirators have received federal prison sentences after pleading guilty in the case. Craig German, 60, of Kernersville, North Carolina, is serving 70 months for Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets and an additional 20 months for Perjury and False Statements to a Government Agency. Gilbert Basaldua, 63, of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, received an 80-month sentence for Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets and Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property.

“When companies invest huge amounts of time and money to develop technologies, only to have those technologies stolen, the results are devastating,” emphasized Will Clarke, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent of FBI Atlanta’s Savannah office. “These defendants intended not only to enrich themselves but bypass the legally established system. This case should serve as a warning to those entrusted with valuable trade secrets: If you break the law, you will be punished.”

The FBI conducted the investigation into the case.

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