Two Coke Conspirators Plead Guilty

Face Up to 10 Years in Prison for Conspiring to Steal and Sell Trade Secrets

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Two men accused of conspiring with a Coca-Cola Co. marketing-department secretary to steal and sell Coke trade secrets to PepsiCo pleaded guilty today in Atlanta federal district court.
Three were arrested July 5 following an FBI sting operation set in motion after PepsiCo informed Coca-Cola of a plot to sell trade secrets for $1.5 million.
Three were arrested July 5 following an FBI sting operation set in motion after PepsiCo informed Coca-Cola of a plot to sell trade secrets for $1.5 million.

In admitting to one conspiracy count, Ibrahim Dimson, 30, and Edmund Duhaney, 43, each face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. They will be sentenced Jan. 29, 2007, according to the Department of Justice.

Joya Williams, the third defendant and former administrative executive assistant to a Coca-Cola global brand manager, has entered a not-guilty plea and is set to go to trial Nov. 13. Her lawyer has filed a motion to push the trial to early next year, but the court has yet to rule on the motion. Ms. Williams was fired by Coke after her arrest.

Willing to cooperate
Mr. Duhaney is reportedly willing to cooperate in the Williams trial as a prosecution witness. Published reports quoted Mr. Duhaney's lawyer, Don Samuel, describing his client as a "bit player" in the scheme who is cooperating because of evidence against him.

Mr. Dimson made no deal for his guilty plea. Mr. Dimson's lawyer, Anna Blitz, did not immediately return calls or e-mails for comment.

"Economic espionage should be treated very seriously," U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said in a statement. "Maintaining the incentives to create new and innovative products and allowing the innovators to reap the benefits of their inventions are critical to the growth of our economy. Those who try to cheat by taking advantage of others' hard work and creativity will face prosecution and prison."

Sting operation
The three were arrested July 5 following a six-week Federal Bureau of Investigation sting operation set in motion after PepsiCo informed Coca-Cola of the plot to sell the secrets for $1.5 million. The trio were indicted July 11.

The Department of Justice said a box holding two Coca-Cola product prototypes and company documents were found in Mr. Duhaney's home the day the three were arrested. The prosecution said a box containing two undisclosed Coca-Cola product samples and other confidential company documents was found in his home during a search on July 5, the day the exchange was to take place. Coke has not revealed the products involved in the case.
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