Would-be entrepreneur admits stealing BMS secrets

Call it involuntary outsourcing. An Indian-born former employee of Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMS) admitted that he stole proprietary info from the company because he wanted to start his own pharma business on the subcontinent. Shalin Jhaveri was arrested in February, during a clandestine meeting with an investor willing to back his Indian venture, and was fired soon after, the FBI says in a statement.

Jhaveri, a 30-year-old Ph.D. who worked as a technical operations associate in BMS' management-training program, pleaded guilty to one charge of trade-secret theft and now faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and deportation once his sentence is served.

Employed by BMS from November 2007, he had stolen more than 1,300 documents from the company by the time of his arrest. In fact, it was his downloading of those documents, beginning in late 2009, that tipped off BMS' corporate security team. According to the FBI, Jhaveri then emailed selected documents to his Indian investor, using an email account he set up for the purpose.

The episode says two things: One, that pharma employees, even low-level workers, have enough access to steal trade secrets. Two, that access to secrets doesn't necessarily mean thieves can get away with it. Especially if they use their own computer accounts to download more than a thousand documents.

- read the FBI press release
- see the story in the Economic Times
- get the news from Reuters