Corporate Espionage

Office Depot employee charged

CLEVELAND -- September 13, 2000 -- (AP) A man who worked as a graphic artist for Office Depot has been charged with offering a rival office-supply chain information on the company's upcoming promotions and sale prices.

U.S. Attorney Emily M. Sweeney said Wednesday a federal grand jury indicted Aubrey J. Fisher, 27, of Coconut Creek, Fla., on 20 counts of wire fraud and seven counts of mail fraud. The secret indictment, returned July 11, was unsealed after Fisher's arrest, Sweeney said.

Each count carries a possible five-year prison term.

Fisher could not be reached for comment. A message seeking comment was left at a phone listed under his name in Coconut Creek. OfficeMax Inc. providing pricing and details on upcoming promotions planned by Office Depot, which is based in Delray Beach, Fla.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Kern said OfficeMax contacted the FBI, which sent seven $1,000 payments between Jan. 24 and June 17 to Fisher in response to his offer.