Paul Devine, who was Apple’s global supply manager, has pleaded guilty to fraud. As an Apple employee he had access to confidential information which he passed on to third parties.
In this way enterprising companies from Singapore obtained sales forecasts and technical features of future Apple products. They were therefore in a better position to win contracts, and deprive Apple of income. Devine received a percentage from these deals. They were not interested in technical production secrets and new designs.
Paul Devine worked for Apple from 2005. He organised contracts with iPhone and iPad suppliers. His annual salary was about $100 thousand.
He communicated with his clients via email using free email systems (Gmail, Hotmail) from his office, which is where law enforcement officers discovered copies of the emails.
It is a serious mistake to use emails to send confidential information. Statistics show that only 6% of leaks use this method. However, it is becoming much quicker and easier to collect evidence on information leaks through emails.
The ex-manager faces a serious jail sentence. Devine has not been sentenced yet and he is currently free on bail. He has already agreed to pay restitution of almost $2.3 million.