Greenback engineers charged with stealing trade secrets from Goodyear
WASHINGTON — Two engineers for an East Tennessee company were arrested Friday and charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Clark Alan Roberts, 46, and Sean Edward Howley, 38, both engineers for Wyko Tire Technology Inc. in Greenback, Tenn., were arraigned Friday before a federal magistrate in Knoxville, Tenn., after being named in a 12-count indictment issued Tuesday.
According to the indictment, Wyko got a contract in 2007 with Chinese tire manufacturer Haohau South China Guilin Rubber Co. Ltd. to supply equipment to make large off-road tires.
The indictment charges that Roberts and Howley visited a Goodyear plant in Topeka, Kan., and while lying about the purpose of their visit, surreptitiously took cell phone photos of proprietary equipment used in making the large off-road tires.
Federal officials charged that the men e-mailed the photos to employees of a Wyko subsidiary located in England, who used them to complete a similar piece of machinery for the Chinese contract.
The were charged with conspiracy, theft of trade secrets, and wire fraud. Federal officials said each man could face a maximum of 150 years in prison and $2.75 million in fines if convicted of all charges.
Wyko executives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Goodyear is based in Akron, Ohio.