A Troy, Michigan couple faces charges of stealing industrial secrets on hybrid cars from GM before attempting to sell the data to a Chinese auto manufacturer. A former GM worker and her husband have been charged with four offenses, including unauthorized possession of trade secrets and wire fraud under an indictment unsealed July 22. GM reportedly places a value of $40 million on the stolen documents. The former GM worker allegedly copied thousands of sensitive documents onto a hard disk after she was offered a severance agreement in January 2005. This hard drive was used by Millennium Technology International, a firm run by the two defendants, which months later allegedly offered hybrid-vehicle technology to Chery Automobile in China. The circumstances of the case raise serious questions about the security controls applied by GM to safeguard its research around the time of the alleged data theft. In May 2006, the couple’s home was raided, leading to the recovery of computers containing industrial secrets, according to prosecutors.

Security Magazine is looking for other cases of industrial espionage. Email zaludreport@bnpmedia.com