Monmouth man faces federal charges for allegedly selling trade secrets
A West Long Branch man employed by a company producing "As Seen On TV" goods risks a decade or more in prison for allegedly trying to peddle inside information about his boss's business.
Ralph Mandil, 37, appeared today in Newark to answer charges of theft of trade secrets and wire fraud, according to the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. Investigators pegged the information's potential value in the tens of millions of dollars.
A conviction of the more-serious wire fraud charge would translate to a maximum 20 years in prison, on conviction. Theft of trade secrets carries a possible penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Mandil's arrest culminated a two-month sting operation in which he allegedly offered details to undercover FBI Agents who he believed to be his company's competitors.
The company sells electrical and non-electrical appliances, beauty and personal care items, pet care goods, fitness ware, auto accessories and outdoor products, frequently through TV ads and on shelves of Walmart and similar stores, authorities said.
Between August 1 and October 12 of this year, Mandil exchanged e-mails and phone calls and held meetings with investigators who were equipped with audio and video recording devices.
Investigators allege that Mandil offered up proprietary information including unreleased product names, samples, specifications, artwork, advertising, marketing figures and manufacturing details for $197,000, furnishing them with access to the company's cloud storage account.
Agents paid him $10,000, then ascertained that competitors previewing sensitive informaton could use it for tactical advantage in the marketplace by stealing the designs, cutting prices, and filling retail space.
Fishman's office did not indicate whether Mandil retained legal representation. The State's case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam N. Subervi of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.