Aaron Quoc Khieu worked for Boston Scientific at its Maple Grove, Minn., facility as an engineer working on new catheter products, according to court documents. Khieu allegedly stole more than 100 documents covering the specs for Boston Scientific’s Sapphire and Mustang catheters, plus the documentation covering an as-yet unreleased product, according to the indictment. The name of the 3rd catheter is still under seal, according to the documents.
The grand jury accused Khieu of planning to use the stolen trade secrets he transferred to a thumb drive to start a new medical device company in Vietnam called Snowflake Medical, which would sell a catheter copied from the Boston Scientific devices called the Snowcat. Khieu allegedly went so far as to meet with potential investors in 2012 in Minnetonka, Minn., telling them of a recent trip to Vietnam where he met with physicians and hospital administrators, according to court records.
Khieu initially pleaded not guilty and asked the court to delay the jury trial, slated for Dec. 9, until April 13, saying a continuance was "necessitated by the scope and complexity of the charges and discovery in the present case," according to the documents. An expert witness estimated it would take 3 months to review the discovery materials, Khieu said in a court filing.
But Khieu yesterday changed his plea, admitting to 1 count of stealing a trade secret, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The remaining charges will be dismissed at Khieu’s sentencing hearing in 4 to 6 months, his lawyer Robert Sicoli told the newspaper.
"He has taken full responsibility for his actions and is really remorseful for his actions," Sicoli said. "That’s why he pled guilty."
Khieu faces a maximum sentence of 10 years, but his lawyer said he plans to argue for a much shorter sentence, according to the paper.