For a company not involved with the manufacturing of military products, Apple is unusually secretive as far as companies in Silicon Valley go. Indeed, while most other tech companies routinely discuss upcoming products, planned features, and product roadmaps, Apple operates under a veil of secrecy that leaves consumers guessing until Steve Jobs takes the stage - the Gizmodo/iPhone 4 fiasco aside, of course.
But for a company as big as Apple, keeping product information a secret is only as effective as the people working for you are diligent. And in the end, all it takes is one bad apple (no pun intended) to really cause some damage.
That said, a middle manager at Apple named Paul Shin Devine was recently arrested for offering a number Asian accessory manufactures confidential information about upcoming Apple products in exchange for large kickbacks. All told, Devine accepted over $1 million in illegal kickbacks and bribes while in the midst of this scheme and he now finds himself charged with wire fraud, money laundering, and receiving kickbacks. Notably, Devine's transgressions reportedly stretch back to 2006.
According to the indictment, Asian suppliers used the information supplied by Devine to negotiate more favorable contracts with Apple. In coordinating the kickbacks, Devine, who worked as a global supply manager at Apple, set up a number of bank accounts across various countries, some of them in his wife's name, in an attempt to cover his tracks. By using multiple bank accounts, Devine aimed to keep the dollar amount of his deposits small enough to avoid suspicion.
Speaking to the Mercury News, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling stated, "Apple is committed to the highest ethical standards in the way we do business. We have zero tolerance for dishonest behavior inside or outside the company."
Meanwhile, Apple isn't sitting back and waiting to see how the Federal investigation pans out. Apple, on its own accord, filed a civil suit against Devine for his actions.
Currently being held by the U.S Marshals Service, Devine is scheduled to appear in federal court in California on Monday.