Salesman gets a year in prison for trying to bring trade secrets to China

He helped Dura-Bar develop business in China and other locations, and in 2013 began to negotiate to take a similar job with a rival firm in Jiangsu, China.

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Robert O’Rourke was sentenced to year in prison for trying to bring trade secrets from the U.S. to China.

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A Wisconsin man who worked at a manufacturing company in the northwest suburbs has been sentenced to federal prison for stealing trade secrets while planning to work for a rival company in China.

Robert O’Rourke, 59, was sentenced Wednesday in Chicago to a year and a day in prison, and was also fined $100,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois. He was convicted in March on seven counts of theft of trade secrets.

In September 2015, O’Rourke downloaded company documents without authorization two days before leaving Dura-Bar, a Woodstock-based cast-iron manufacturer, prosecutors said.

Two days later, he resigned from Dura-Bar, where worked since 1987 as a plant metallurgist, quality assurance manager and salesperson, prosecutors said.

The next week, O’Rourke went to O’Hare International Airport to catch a flight to China, but federal authorities arrested him and seized the stolen trade secrets, prosecutors said.

He helped Dura-Bar develop business in China and other locations, and in 2013 began to negotiate to take a similar job with a rival firm in Jiangsu, China.

O’Rourke, of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, was initially charged with 13 counts, each of which carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, prosecutors said.

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