Man pleads guilty to trying to steal trade secrets of radar system

Local News

A U.S. Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Boston man pleaded guilty today to trying to steal a Nevada company’s trade secrets related to radar navigation.

Peter James Cariani, 58, worked as a systems engineer for Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), and copied tens of thousands of electronic files from SNC’s computer network, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

SNC is a Nevada-based defense contractor. The files contained trade secrets related to SNC’s Radar Enhanced Visions System, which is described as an onboard aircraft radar sensing system that displays digital images of the ground for pilots flying in zero-visibility conditions.

On April 7, 2015, “Cariani transferred the files to a personal external hard drive, and later transmitted information derived from the files to others for potential economic benefit,” according to prosecutors. “When entering his guilty plea, Cariani admitted that he knowingly downloaded trade secret information from SNC’s network and he knew his actions would harm SNC.”

“Theft of trade secret information is a federal crime and economically destructive, depriving companies of the fruits of their creativity,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada. “Our office will continue to work closely with the FBI and Nevada businesses to hold accountable anyone trying to steal trade secret information from the innovative companies in our district, and to protect their sensitive business and technical information.”

Cariani pleaded guilty to one count of attempted theft of trade secrets.

U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks scheduled a sentencing hearing for Aug. 31. Cariani faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the Reno Resident Agency of the Las Vegas Division of the FBI with assistance from the FBI’s Boston Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Myhre and Randolph St. Clair prosecuted the case.

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