A third former Boeing Co. employee was charged in connection with the use of stolen Lockheed Martin Corp. documents that helped Boeing win a government rocket-launch contract in 1998, prosecutors said.
Larry Satchell, 65, who worked in Boeing's rocket unit, was charged with conspiracy, theft of trade secrets, violation of the Procurement Integrity Act and obstruction of justice, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
Former Boeing employees William Erskine and Kenneth Branch were charged last year with conspiracy to conceal and possess trade secrets in the case. Boeing, the second-largest U.S. defense contractor, was suspended by the Air Force from bidding on contracts to launch rockets after the government learned of the alleged document theft last year. Chicago-based Boeing is attempting to get the suspension lifted.
"That suspension will be lifted when the Air Force is confident Boeing is performing responsibly, and procedures have been put in place to ensure they continue to do so in the future," Air Force spokeswoman Angela Billings said in a written statement.
Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, the largest U.S. defense contractor, has sued Boeing over the alleged theft.
Robert Corbin, Satchell's lawyer, could not be reached for comment. A call to Satchell's home in Newport Beach, Calif., was not answered.
An arrest warrant was issued for Satchell but he was given a chance to surrender, said Christopher Johnson, an assistant U.S. attorney.
In 1997, Satchell was put in charge of a team that was responsible for finding out about Lockheed Martin's competing bid for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. After an internal Boeing investigation into possible misuse of Lockheed documents, Satchell was reprimanded and he retired three days later, said Daniel Beck, a Boeing spokesman.
"Back in 1999, Boeing took the appropriate action against Larry Satchell based on what we had learned." Beck said. He would not elaborate.
The EELV is to be the military's primary means of launching weather, communications, reconnaissance, eavesdropping and global-positioning satellites. The rockets will replace the Delta and Atlas family of boosters.
The Air Force awarded Boeing 19 of 28 launches in the October 1998 contract. Its share was later increased to 21, leaving Lockheed Martin seven launches.
Branch, who worked as a space engineer with Lockheed Martin's competing EELV program before joining Boeing in 1997, provided Satchell with proprietary documents from his former employer, according to the complaint. Satchell previously told investigators that he didn't want the documents and destroyed them.
Matthew L. Jew, a former Boeing cost analyzer who is cooperating with the Justice Department investigation, told investigators last month that Satchell in 1997 gave him Lockheed Martin documents containing cost information.
After Boeing suspended Branch and Erskine during an investigation into the documents, Satchell told Jew that he had destroyed his copies of the Lockheed Martin documents and asked Jew to do the same.
"If this were to come out, Boeing could lose the entire EELV program," Satchell told Jew, according to court papers.