A chemist who admitted he stole more than 100 confidential silicone formulas from Wacker Chemical and then sold many to a South Korean competitor is going to federal prison for two years.
The attorney for the 62-year-old chemist, Michael Agoda, argued before his Jan. 16 sentencing that Agoda should receive probation because he provided Wacker formulas to KCC Silicone “in the scientific spirit of sharing information.”
However, the complaint against Agoda, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, paints a different picture. According to the document, KCC paid Agoda $132,621 between March 2010 and January 2012. Agoda made 12 trips to South Korea paid for by KCC. Wacker figures it lost about $15.5 million because of Agoda’s actions.
Agoda worked at Wacker’s Adrian, Mich., facility for 20 years until 1997. He was employed by Laur Silicone, a formulator in Beaverton, Mich., when he started selling Wacker formulas to KCC, court documents say.
Agoda resigned from Laur in June 2011 to work full-time for KCC. Then, Laur’s information technology administrator reviewed Agoda’s e-mail account and discovered evidence that he had been selling Wacker trade secrets. The firm reported the activity to Wacker, which in turn informed the FBI....I am terribly interested to find out more about Michael Agoda's background, but I note that there isn't a lot of other media coverage about this issue. Questions that I have include:
- Why did he sell the formulas now?
- How did he leave the employ of Wacker?
- How long did he sell the formulas?
UPDATE: A commenter provides a link to a Rubber News article which is much more forthcoming about Mr. Agodoa's background:
According to a criminal complaint filed in the Michigan court in April 2012, Agodoa, a native of Ghana, joined the former Stauffer Chemical Co. as a plant chemist in 1977. In 1987, Wacker purchased a controlling interest in Stauffer and changed the company's name.
Agodoa continued with Wacker until July 1997, rising to the position of technical manager and leaving to accept a job with Jamak Fabrications, the complaint said.
Between 1991 and 1996 alone, Agodoa signed some 78 formula and manufacturing instruction sheets that were clearly marked as confidential, according to the complaint. He was disciplined in 1994 for giving chemical samples to visitors to the Wacker plant—a willful violation of company policy and a potential violation of federal law, the complaint said.
By 2011, Agodoa was a senior scientist at Laur Silicone Inc. In June of that year, according to the complaint, he tendered his resignation, saying he had accepted a consulting job with KCC Silicones and also that he was helping a South Korean firm develop the oil reserves found at a town in Ghana.
However, in a routine system and password change after Agodoa's resignation, Laur discovered in a search of Agodoa's email records that he in fact had been selling Wacker's trade secrets to KCC Silicones.Thanks to Anon for the added details....