FBI agents searched Ford Motor Company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, as part of an investigation into possible corporate espionage.
Eight devices, along with documents, computers and financial records, were among the items seized by federal agents on July 11, according to documents obtained by The Detroit News.
Former engineer Sharon Leach, a 17-year Ford veteran of company, was fired last month, according to The News, which first reported the story. She admitted to placing recording devices under conference tables before meetings. She told Ford security she used the recordings to assist in her meeting notes. She couldn’t remove the devices after meetings without drawing attention to herself, leaving the devices to record other meetings. The FBI searched Leach’s home on June 20 and seized more than two dozen items in that search, Reuters reported.
Leach has not been charged for any wrongdoing. Former federal prosecutor and Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning told The News that using a search warrant, rather than a subpoena, shows the FBI suspects more employees could be implicated.
“If it’s an economic espionage case or trade-secrets case, that rarely involves one individual,” Henning told The Detroit News. “So the concern is if you send a subpoena and ask for recording devices, those things can be erased.”
Leach, Ford and the FBI declined to comment on the investigation.