A former Coca-Cola executive assistant was convicted of conspiring to steal trade secrets and sell classified documents to rival Pepsi for at least $1.5 million.
Williams stole 14 pages of documents marked as “Classified Confidential” and “Classified Restricted,” along with sample products not yet launched by Coca-Cola, as part of a conspiracy to sell them to Pepsi or “the highest bidder”. Williams had two prior arrests.
The conspiracy was shut down after Pepsi warned Coca-Cola it had received a letter in May 2006 offering trade secrets. The FBI launched an undercover investigation, finding video of Williams “going through multiple files, looking for documents, and stuffing them into bags”. Williams was sentenced to eight years in federal prison, and because of the incident Coca-Cola’s CEO executed a comprehensive review of its security procedures.
ClearForce could have alerted Coca-Cola on the prior arrests, enabling the company to restrict access to sensitive documents for a job role that may not have required a background check at the time of hire.