ALBANY – A former General Electric engineer was sentenced Wednesday to two years in federal prison for conspiring to steal trade secrets from General Electric, federal prosecutors said.
Jean Patrice Delia, 46, of Montreal, pleaded guilty earlier in the case.
He admitted that he and another man, Miguel Sernas, 40, of Mexico City, had gone into business under the name ThermoGen Power Services to compete against General Electric worldwide using trade secrets Delia had stolen while employed at GE’s Schenectady campus, prosecutors said.
Delia admitted that he and Sernas had also used stolen marketing data, pricing information, and other confidential GE documents, prosecutors said.
Delia was employed by GE from 2001 to 2012 and he admitted to conspiring with Sernas from 2008 to 2019, officials said.
The original indictment alleged that Delia, while employed in Schenectady at what was then known as GE Energy, stole thousands of electronic files belonging to GE, including proprietary tools GE had developed to calibrate its turbines in power plants around the world.
In addition to the two years of prison, U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino also ordered Delia to pay $1.4 million in restitution and ordered him immediately to jail, rather than to report later.
Federal prosecutors had asked for a longer term, 37 months, or 3 years, 1 month in prison, calling Delia the “architect of this conspiracy, and he did the actual stealing of materials from GE.”
“This crime is not a victimless one: tens of thousands of American citizens, including many citizens of this District, have dedicated their professional lives to working for GE, and rely on the success of GE for their livelihood,” prosecutors wrote in backing their sentencing recommendation. “When criminals steal the fruits of GE’s work, many suffer the consequences. The defendant’s sentence should reflect these realities and send a message of deterrence.”
Delia’s attorney Paul S. Volk asked for time served.
“He comes before this Court for sentencing not only accepting responsibility for his behavior and trying to make amends as best he can, but also having already agreed to pay, prior to sentencing, a substantial portion of his share of the restitution, pre-sentencing,” Volk wrote
Sernas, a citizen and resident of Mexico, was sentenced for his role in December 2019 to time served, about 12 months, and also ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorneys Wayne A. Myers and Michael Barnett.
Asked for comment after Delia’s December 2019 plea, General Electric said via email: “At GE, we aggressively protect and defend our Intellectual Property and have strict processes in place for identifying these issues and partnering with law enforcement. Strong IP protection is crucial to our ability to succeed over the long term.”