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Tue, Feb 21, 2023

Guilty Verdict for California Man who Stole Aircraft Secrets

Thou Shalt Not Conspire to Steal Trade Secrets

The third defendant accused by U.S. prosecutors of taking part in a conspiracy to illegally appropriate proprietary information from American aircraft manufacturers has been found guilty by a U.S. District Court.

Following a three-day trial in Georgia’s Southern District, Joseph Pascua, 60, of Escondido, California, was found guilty of Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets. Now awaiting sentencing, Pascua faces a statutory sentence of up to ten-years in prison, along with substantial financial penalties, followed by up to three years of supervised release upon completion of any prison term.

There is no parole in the federal system.

David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, stated:  “Manufacturers spend millions of dollars and countless hours of employee work time to research, design and develop unique products. Joseph Pascua and his co-conspirators attempted to shortcut this process by stealing valuable proprietary information to benefit a competitor—and they’re being held accountable for this theft.”

Pascua, along with co-defendants Gilbert Basuldua and Craig German, schemed to steal proprietary data pertaining to a newly-developed aircraft de-icing system for purpose of expediting Federal Aviation Administration certification of such. Pascua and his accomplices, upon attaining FAA certification of the stolen architecture, intended to sell the de-icing system’s design to a competing aircraft manufacturer.

Gilbert Basuldua, 63, of Hilton Head, South Carolina, is serving an eighty-month sentence after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets and Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property.

Craig German, 60, of Kernersville, North Carolina, is currently serving a ninety-month prison term after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets, and subsequently being found guilty of Perjury and [making] False Statements to a Government Agency after lying during his initial sentencing hearing.

Pascua, Basuldua, and German were originally indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2019; Pascua’s case was dismissed, initially, and he was indicted separately in November 2021.

Following a Savannah trial before U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker, Pascua was found guilty and will be sentenced pending completion of a pre-sentencing investigation by U.S. Probation Services.

Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, set forth: “The FBI is committed to identifying and prosecuting those who engage in illegal and deceptive practices to steal trade secrets and protected information from companies who spend millions of dollars to develop it. As this extensive investigation comes to a close, let these convictions be a reminder that the FBI will not tolerate criminals that violate laws that protect companies and are in place to keep Americans safe.”

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer G. Solari and Darron J. Hubbard.

FMI: www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/industrial-espionage

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