Former Apple employee admits he sold confidential info, cost the company in excess of $2 million

Paul Devine, the man who last August collected a pretty lengthy list of charges against his name from the FBI and IRS -- which collectively amounted to an accusation of "screwing Apple" -- has now admitted his guilt. Specifically, Devine has fessed up to wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering, in which he engaged while exchanging confidential information about upcoming Apple products for cold hard cash from interested parts suppliers. He's now having to forfeit $2.28 million in money and property that resulted from his nefarious exploits, with sentencing scheduled for June 6th. Devine's lawyer is quoted as saying he's a "good man who made a mistake, and now he's trying to make amends." Indeed, the mistake of getting caught and the amends of trying not to go to prison. Jump past the break for a full statement on the matter from the US Department of Justice.

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Agrees to Forfeit More Than $2.25 Million in Proceeds of Fraud

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Paul Devine pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose today to wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

In pleading guilty, Devine admitted to engaging in a scheme to defraud Apple, Inc., of its money or property and its right to his honest services while he was employed with the company from 2005 through 2010. In addition, Devine admitted to transferring the proceeds of the wire fraud between various bank accounts in the U.S. and overseas in order to conceal the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the proceeds; and to conducting financial transactions with criminally-derived property worth more than $10,000.

According to court documents, the fraudulent scheme involved Devine transmitting Apple's confidential information, such as product forecasts, roadmaps, pricing targets, product specifications, and data obtained from Apple's business partners, to suppliers and manufacturers of Apple parts. In return, the suppliers and manufacturers paid Devine kickbacks, including payments determined as a percentage of the business they did with Apple. The scheme enabled the suppliers and manufacturers to, among other things, negotiate more favorable contracts with Apple than they would have been able to obtain without the confidential information. As part of the plea agreement, Devine admitted that the loss attributable to his offenses was $2,409,000.

The investigation began in April 2010, when Apple found evidence of the kickback scheme on Devine's Apple-owned laptop. Devine, 38, of Sunnyvale, Calif., was indicted by a federal Grand Jury on Aug. 11, 2010. He was charged with fifteen counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1346, one count of wire fraud conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, six counts of money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956, and one count of engaging in transactions with criminally-derived proceeds in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957. Under the plea agreement, Devine pled guilty to one count of each statutory violation.

Devine is currently on pretrial release. Sentencing of Devine is scheduled for June 6, 2011, before Judge James Ware in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1346, or 1349 is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000; for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956 it is 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved; and the count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957 it is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the value of the property involved. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

As part of the plea, Devine agreed to pay restitution as ordered by the Court. He has also consented to the forfeiture of money and property worth approximately $2.28 million.

Michelle J. Kane is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Lauri Gomez. The prosecution is the result of an four-month investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations.