The Company Man: Protecting America’s Secrets

The Company Man: Protecting America’s Secrets


No, No, No, You got to be kidding me! When are you going to put this thing out of
its misery? As soon as my youngest finishes college. Yeah, well, you better tell her to hurry up. Hey, Virgil. Sheila! Thanks for coming, I can’t be late for this
meeting. I can get somebody to drive you home. Oh, thanks. You really think they’re going to give you
this promotion? Yeah, Preston is retiring next year, I’m the
next in line. What if they don’t? They will. Robert Moore. Mr. Moore, this is Jerry Fielding with People
Power, an executive placement service out of New
York. Okay. I was just calling to see if you were happy with your work. With the work, yes. How about the money? I guess… I found your resume on LinkedIn, and I think you’d be perfect for a plant manager
listing we have. Oh really? Where? Advanced Insulation Industries, Shanghai. As in China? I don’t think you’ll be laughing when you
hear the salary. No, there’s no way that I can move to China. Oh, think of it as a vacation, an adventure. You stay there three or four years, you come home with a huge nest egg, a new title… the world is your oyster. Listen, um, I appreciate the consideration, but I’m just going to have to say no, thank
you. Jesus. Mr. Wei? Hello. This is my assistant, Li Cheung. My name is Margaret Mallory, I’m the general
counsel for RIS. It’s nice to meet you. Nice to meet you as well. Right this way. All we need are a few pieces of your specialized
equipment to begin manufacturing your glass insulation
in China within a matter of months. Mr. Wei, I want to thank you for coming and
for making your proposal, but we’re already negotiating to build our
own plant in China. I understand, but working with the Chinese
government can be a slow process. Without our help, it could be three to five
years before your product reaches the Chinese market. This means tens of millions in lost revenue. You need a Chinese partner. We would do all the work, and we can split
the profits. Mr. Wei, our proprietary manufacturing process
is what differentiates us in the market. We cannot allow it to leave our premises. Our plan is to manufacture the insulation
here and then finalize the production process in
China. We understand completely. I assure you we
can take whatever precautions you deem necessary. Hi, Dennis. Oh, hi, Robert. Your secretary said that I would find you
here. We had a meeting scheduled for now. Sorry about that, Robert. I have to approve
the new production line documents before we send them off. Don’t suppose you know where they are? Oh, yeah. I was hoping that we could discuss the position
that’s opening up when Preston leaves. Everyone here in management appreciates what
you’ve done for the company, Robert. I appreciate that Dennis, I just need to know
if I have a shot at the job. Well, there honestly haven’t been any serious
discussions about his replacement yet. You will, of course, be seriously considered
for the position. And I can tell you, just between us, profits
and productivity are up, and that will be reflected in bonuses this
year. Oh well, bonuses, really? Thanks, Dennis. By manufacturing in China, you save on transportation and labor costs. It is a win-win. Yes, yes. Gentlemen, I want to thank you for
your proposal, we will keep it in mind as we consider our
options. I apologize, may I use the restroom? Sure, it’s just down the hall to the right. Thank you. So, this is a beautiful facility that you
have here. Thank you very much. Excuse me. I found this gentleman in my office
on my computer. I am so sorry. When I left the restroom, I
saw an open computer and tried to check my e-mail. Thank you for coming, gentlemen. Come in. Ms. Mallory, I didn’t want to say this in
front of Mr. Walker and everybody, but I think that guy tried to plug a jump
drive into my computer. Excuse me? What exactly did you see? Dad! Daddy! Guess what? I got into Princeton. Can you believe it? Congratulations honey, that’s wonderful! I’m going to go tell everyone. Yeah. Newton said I could expect a nice bonus, but he doesn’t know anything about Preston’s job. I got a call from a headhunter today. Really? Yeah, but the job is in China. Oh yeah, that’s where we’re going to move. Maybe we should at least think about it. We could pay for Jessie’s college. Recruiter said that I could write my own ticket
after a few years. A few years? Think of it as an adventure. You always said you wanted to travel. Yeah. Yeah, hi, Jerry, it’s Robert. You called about
a job in China? I’d like to hear a little more about it. Excuse me? Can I help you? Forgive us, we were lost and we saw the open gate and decided to come
in for directions. Sir, you have put that phone down. Sorry, sorry! It all looks so interesting. What do you make here? We have never seen an American factory, perhaps we could get a tour? You know what, I’m sorry but you’re going
to have to leave, okay? This way, please. Mallory. Hey, I just found two trespassers taking pictures
of the factory. I got their plates. Hello, Robert. My name is Jiango Wei, and this is Li Cheung, he is my assistant. I’ve read in the trade journals about your
contributions to glass insulation technology. I’m a systems engineer, too, and I am very
impressed. You’ve been my first choice for the position. I’m flattered, but I just don’t know how excited
my wife is about moving to China. Oh, you would not have to stay in China for
long. We would ask you only to consult with us on
the setup of the plant and the beginning of the manufacturing process. Then we would put you on retainer to answer
any questions or solve any problems that might arise. I am interested, but there’s still a few issues
that we need to discuss. I signed a non-compete with RIS when I first
started; how close is your product to our glass insulation? Your product is very good. The best available. Our goal would be to manufacture a similar
product. See, that could be a problem. Would $200,000 lessen your burden? Yes, yes it would. We are prepared to offer you $100,000 for the plans for the equipment and the formula for the glass insulation. And $100,000 for your assistance in setting
up the manufacturing. I don’t think I can do that, isn’t that illegal? Mr. Wei is simply making a legitimate business
offer based on your considerable engineering experience. Mr. Moore, Robert, It is your life’s work, your knowledge that
we seek, not theirs. But you must do what is right for you and
your family. Please consider it. Are you going to tell the company? What? Never mind Preston’s job, I could get fired. Then just say no to the Chinese and we’ll forget you ever had that meeting. And what if they get the information from
somebody else? It could put us out of business. They won’t. The company can take care of itself. Oh, hi, Robert. Can I help you? …So, I said no, and I left. I just want you to know I thought it was legitimate. I get calls from headhunters occasionally,
but I’m very happy here, and I want you to know that. Thank you, Robert. We really appreciate you coming forward like
this. I promise you, I won’t forget it. Oh, and I’m pretty sure we’ll need to talk
about this again later, okay? Yes, sir, thank you. Sure. I’m impressed he came forward. It took guts. Yeah. This is serious, Fred. If someone takes their bait, it could bury
us. We have to call the FBI. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Yeah, that’s just what we need, the federal government going through our business. We just can’t pretend this didn’t happen. It’s a threat to the company. And what if they try to do this to someone
else? Special Agent Carpenter. Yes? What company? Well, just start from the beginning, Ms. Mallory. Uh-huh? His name is Li Cheung, 27, a Chinese-born
naturalized citizen of the United States. He is currently attending graduate school
at UCLA. He is either the nephew or cousin of Jiango
Wei, 54, Chinese national, former officer of the People’s
Liberation Army. He owns a small company that manufactures
metal doors for the domestic Chinese market. The company appears successful, but doesn’t seem profitable enough to account
for the purchase of this valuable land or the construction of this facility. Nor does it seem that he had any prior interest
in glass insulation. So, there’s someone else behind him? Possibly. The government? We can’t connect those dots yet. But your product is one the PRC needs. The government has recently enacted some tough
new commercial building regulations, and yours is one of the few insulating materials
that meets the requirements for insulation and fire retardency. I know. That’s why we’ve been so dumbfounded by all
the obstacles they’ve thrown in our way since we tried to get into their market. Well, the vast majority of business with China
is legitimate and good for our economy, but occasionally we run into situations like
this where there is clearly a hidden agenda. They may try to acquire your product with
or without your company’s approval. What’s the next step? Do you have a case? Well, we need to lure Wei back to the U.S. With what? Same thing that brought him here—your secrets. We’d like to setup a sting operation with
your employee. Wei put the ball in his court; let’s bounce it back and see what happens. We’re not spies, Agent Carpenter, we make
insulation. I’m not putting one of my employees in harm’s
way for this. We’re under no obligation to comply with this,
are we Margaret? And let’s just say that we catch these guys
and it goes to trial. They could subpoena the same documents the
Chinese are trying to steal, couldn’t they? Mr. Walker, there are legal protections that
would keep your proprietary information from public disclosure. I think that’s true, Fred. The Justice Department is very careful about
protecting corporate trade secrets. But what if they’re not careful? I want to thank you for all of your help, but we’re done here. I’m sorry—we’ve worked for over a decade
to develop this product, and we can’t risk our trade secrets becoming
public in court. We completely understand. We’re on your side and so are the courts. I haven’t seen a case yet that hasn’t worked
with the victim’s business to keep that from happening. We’ve got your back on this, but we need to catch this guy. If it isn’t you, it’ll be another company. Thank you. Thanks. Appreciate you coming by. We’ve got to do this Fred. Why? We’d be taking a huge risk. And what about our stock prices when this
hits the press? People will see we have a unique product worth
protecting. Isn’t that what we’re paying our advertising
agencies to do? What are you doing Margaret? This just isn’t like you. It’s the principal. When I bring up principal, you always bring
up our stock prices. And you just took that off the table. Okay, so maybe I’m pissed off. Paul came by my office and said he thinks Cheung might have had a
thumb drive in his hand when he caught him at his desk. We haven’t spent 20 years building this company to have them steal what we’ve created. Besides, I like this town, and it would die if we went out of business. So screw them. Let’s do this. You want to do what? We want to set up a sting operation, but we need your help. Why me? They know you. We need you to call them and say you want to make the deal. Do you want me to do this? We’d like to see these guys face justice, but we don’t want you to do anything you’d
be uncomfortable doing. Robert, your decision will have no bearing
on your job here. We’re very grateful that you brought this
to our attention. Can I discuss it with my wife? I’m afraid not. Only the FBI and the people
in this room can know anything about it. I’m just an engineer. Shouldn’t you get somebody
who is trained for this sort of thing? We would if we could, but they’ve been researching
your company and reading the trades. They know the people who work here and who’d
have access to what they need. Plus, before this is over, somebody is going
to ask a question that only an engineer could answer. Okay. I’ll be writing you notes during the conversation. Remember, we need him to acknowledge the illegality
of the transaction. We want a specific requirements list and a delivery date. Just do it like we practiced, you’ll be just
fine. Yeah, that’s easy for you to say. Ready? Okay. Wei. Hello, Mr. Wei? it’s Robert. Oh, hello, Robert. Yes, it is good to hear
from you. Oh, well thank you. I’m prepared to give you the information you
want for $200,000. But, I don’t like the payment schedule. How so? Well, I only get $100,000 upon delivery. How do I know that I’ll get the rest of the
money when you go back to China? Mr. Moore, you cannot expect us to give you
all of the money without verifying the documents and making sure that they are complete. Now, neither one of us has recourse to the
law. We are obligated to trust each other. Well, you need me more than I need you. We both need each other, Mr. Moore. Think of me as the solution to your tuition problem. Yeah, okay. You’ve got a deal. Excellent. You will see all of your money
Mr. Moore, I guarantee it. Now I understand your aversion to e-mail, but I have prepared a list of everything that
we will need. And I am going to send it to you now. I got it. Will that be a problem? No, that looks doable. When? How about next Saturday? Yeah, next Saturday sounds good. Excellent. Mr. Cheung will arrange all of
the details with you. Very good. We’ll get to this to the analysts right away. Damn it, did he say next Saturday? Yeah, why? That’s my wife’s birthday. I promised to take
her out to dinner. I’m sorry, Robert. All right. About set? Yes sir, we are good to go. Thank you. All right, thanks. How far away are you guys going to be? We’ll be just down the hall. Remember, once you make the transaction, excuse yourself, go to the bathroom and lock
the door, and don’t come out until we come and get you. Okay, til you come and get me, okay. Ready for your close-up? Ready as I’ll ever be. Okay, I want you sitting here, Wei and Cheung over there. We have a microphone and a camera in the lamp and in the smoke detector. These are the documents that your company
has doctored for us. They are? Okay, thanks. They’re coming early. They’re en route. Three minutes out. Why are they early? Maybe they know, is there something wrong? Robert, take a deep breath, it doesn’t mean
anything. It’s not unusual, it happens from time to
time. Okay? You’ll be fine. Robert, you’ll do great. Okay, let’s go. Where are we? One minute out. Showtime. You think he’ll make it? He’ll make it. What is he doing with the briefcase? He’s probably just nervous. I think he’s going to be sick. You want me to go in there? Thirty seconds out. I’m okay. Twenty seconds out. Hello, Robert. Oh, I assume that’s the money? Yes. Do you have the documents? Yes. Quite frankly, I can’t wait to get rid
of them. How did you solve the high-pressure extrusion
problem? Oh, here I developed a self-calibrating hinge
here…and here. You’re going to need to make sure customs
doesn’t see confidential on these documents, otherwise we all go to jail. Don’t worry about it, Robert. I am worried. We will take care of everything. Here is your money. Thank you. Do you need to count it? Oh, no. I’ve never seen so much. I trust you. If you’ll excuse me, I just need to use the
bathroom. Stand by. And go, go, go! FBI, FBI, FBI! Hands up in the air! Stand up! Stand up slowly! Turn! Turn! Turn! Stop! Don’t move! Hands behind your back. Our top story tonight, Chinese businessman … It’s on! It’s on! …pled guilty today in the United States
District Court for conspiracy to steal the trade secrets
of Iowa-based RIS Corporation. One of the key elements of the prosecution’s
case was the testimony of an RIS employee who worked undercover with
the FBI. Security experts confirmed that… Yeah we’re watching right now. My dad rules! I can’t believe you kept it a secret from
me. Honey, I would have told you, but I would
have had to kill you. Oh, is that so? Mm-hmm. Well, I almost killed you for forgetting my
birthday. Security experts estimate that corporate espionage and theft of trade secrets robs up to $400
billion dollars a year from the U.S. economy. But others point out that many incidents go
undetected or unreported, raising some estimates to as much as a trillion
dollars a year. Everyone agrees that the trend is on the rise. It was scary how persistent they were and how they did not care that they could
be caught at anytime. In the beginning they were, they were surprised that an Asian competitor
would go to this degree to obtain their trade secret information. Our manufacturing facility is two hours away
from the closest major U.S. city, so you think you’re safe there. By the end, after the prosecution, I think
they had a better understanding of the extent of how they had become a target. I can’t get over the fact that those guys
came into our plant—not once, but twice. They had no shame, it was, they were going to come and take this
information, and if we got them one place, they were going
to come at us from another place. It’s not been a one-time target hit. It’s been multiple times. Over this trusting relationship we built,
we’ve been able to assist them in covering up some of their vulnerabilities
so they’re less of a target. I can’t say enough about the efforts of the
FBI. We worked with them every step of the way. They guided us, they coached us, they listened
to what our concerns were, and they addressed those concerns. The culture shift from this experience has
been that it’s everybody’s job to protect the intellectual
property, that everybody needs to be vigilant about
protecting this information.

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