Former Apple exec pleads guilty in kickback scheme
Employee admits giving confidential information to suppliers for payoffs
A former global supply manager for Apple pleaded guilty Monday to wire fraud and related charges stemming from a years-long kickback scheme.
(Also see: Accused AT&T hacker makes bail)
Paul Devine admitted to defrauding Apple from 2005 to 2010, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. PC Magazine reports:
Devine provided Apple suppliers and manufacturers with confidential Apple information, like product forecasts, roadmaps, pricing targets, product specifications, and data obtained from Apple's business partners. Those companies then paid Devine kickbacks for the information, which was used to secure more favorable contracts with Apple.
The kickback operation netted Devine more than $2.4 million, which he hid by transferring money between banks in the U.S. and abroad. Devine reportedly has turned over almost all of the stolen money to the court.
Under terms of a plea agreement, Devine pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., to one count each of wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering, and engaging in transactions with criminally derived funds.
Currently on pre-trial release, Devine is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6. He faces up to 20 years in prison and fines that could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Apple, which filed a civil lawsuit against Devine last year, began investigating the employee last April after discovering evidence of his kickback operation on a company-owned laptop.
Now that's just asking to be caught.
Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.