Medtech Engineer Faces Jail Time for Theft of Trade Secrets

Brian Buntz

December 30, 2015

2 Min Read
Medtech Engineer Faces Jail Time for Theft of Trade Secrets

A former Boston Sci engineer was handed a one-year sentence for stealing plans for a medical device.

Qmed Staff

MustangAaron Q. Khieu, a former Boston Scientific engineer, admitted that he stole the design for a Mustang Plus balloon catheter. In afederal court in Minneapolis, Judge Patrick J. Schiltz handed Khieu a one-year prison sentence, which he said would serve as a deterrent to others tempting to steal secret product plans. According to the Star Tribune, he will likely spend 10 months in jail.

Khieu, 44, had argued that the plans had no value to him while federal prosecutors argued that he be liable for the $4.3 million sum that Boston Scientific had spent on R&D for the device. Prosecutors wanted Khieu to spend at least five years in jail and prior sentencing guidelines had recommended at least three years in prison. Ultimately, however, Khieu's actions didn't hurt his former employer's bottom line, which may have factored in the judge's decision to hand Khieu a relatively light sentence.

Charged in 2014, Khieu had been charged with 14 counts of trade secret theft and wire fraud.

Khieu had served on the design team for the Mustang Plus and the Mustang Catheter.

He was accused of saving the plans for the device on a USB drive and entertained plans of producing a version of the Mustang in Vietnam and sought funding from Minnesota investors for the product.

Khieu's attorney had portrayed his client as a hard-working family man, who immigrated from Vietnam to study engineering.

In court, Khieu tearfully apologized, calling the scheme: "the biggest mistake in my life."

According to his LinkedIn profile, Khieu had worked for the company from 2002 to 2013, having been hired initially as a engineer in the company's vascular division.

He is listed as an inventor on 12 patents.

The device in question was intended to offer cardiologists precise control of the placement of a balloon catheter, giving a unique degree of control over the ability to push aside plaque clogging blood vessels.

The company's Mustang balloon catheter, which makes use of the Mustang Plus design at the heart of this case, is currently on the U.S. market.

In its promotional literature, Boston Scientific says the device offers a unique dilation abilities and a thin sheath size.

Khieu will likely serve his time in a minimum-security federal prison in Duluth, MN starting February 1.

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