US: Ex-Coke secretary gets prison sentence

By | 24 May 2007

The former Coca-Cola secretary found guilty of stealing company secrets has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Joya Williams, who had held the position of secretary to the company's global brand director, was yesterday (23 May) sentenced to the prison stretch, having been found guilty in February of stealing trade secrets from Coca-Cola, with a view to selling them on to Pepsi.

US District Judge J. Owen Forrester told Williams that he was giving her a longer sentence than recommended by federal prosecutors and sentencing guidelines. "This is the kind of offense that cannot be tolerated in our society," he said.

Prosecutors had alleged that Williams and two co-conspirators - both of which had earlier pleaded guilty - tried to sell information to Pepsi from Coca-Cola in May last year, in deals worth US$1.5m. Coke learned of the theft and the attempted sale of the "very detailed and confidential information" from Pepsi.

Ibrahim Dimson was sentenced to five years in prison, while Edmund Duhaney will be sentenced later.

Williams had denied stealing the secrets, but acknowledged to the judge that she had actually commited the crime just before sentencing was passed.

Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

Companies: Coke

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