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Utah scientist pleads guilty in industrial espionage case

Published May 14, 2012 10:26 pm

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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A scientist indicted in U.S. District Court for allegedly emailing trade secrets from a Utah drug company to his brother-in-law in India has pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful access to a protected computer.

The case against Prabhu Mohapatra, 42, of North Logan, marks the first time an industrial espionage case has been filed against a Utah defendant, according to the FBI.

In exchange for Mohapatra's plea, 25 other charges were dismissed, including those related to the theft of trade secrets.

He faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 28 by Judge Clark Waddoups.

A senior scientist at Logan's Frontier Scientific Inc., Mohapatra admitted accessing a company computer to obtain the chemical recipe for Meso-tetraphenylporphine, according to court documents.

He then sent the recipe to his brother-in-law, who was employed by a competing company, according to the initial indictment.

Mohapatra, who worked at Frontier Scientific from 2009 to 2011, was caught after a co-worker noticed suspicious behavior and reported it to management, court documents state.

shunt@sltrib.com