Flextronics Executive Pleads Guilty to Leaking Apple Secrets to Research Firm
The New York Times reports that former Flextronics executive Walter Shimoon has pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of security fraud over his role in leaking insider information on Apple's iPhone and iPad plans to research firm Primary Global Research.
Flextronics manufactured chargers for the iPhone, giving Shimoon access to nonpublic information on Apple's internal sales forecasts for the device, which he then shared with Primary Global Research in his role as a "consultant" for the firm.
In addition to sales figures, prosecutors said Mr. Shimoon also tipped a cooperating witness to Apple's plans to develop a new iPhone. But later in the call, according to a transcript from prosecutors, Mr. Shimoon leaked word of an even more secret product in development, the iPad, which at the time was referred to as K48.
"So, you can get, at Apple you can get fired for saying K48...outside of a, you know, outside of a meeting that doesn't have K48 people in it," he told a cooperating witness, according to taped calls. "That's how crazy they are about it."
Primary Global Research has been the target of a federal investigation into "expert networks" that solicit employees offering insider information and provide that nonpublic information to Wall Street money managers to facilitate insider trading. A number of arrests have been made over the firm's collection of insider information on Apple, Dell, AMD, and other tech companies.