RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A third co-defendant has pleaded guilty in a federal court case involving the dissemination of several companies’ trade secrets during the bidding process for a project commissioned by Dominion Energy.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 58-year-old John Gibson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to convert trade secrets on Wednesday, Nov. 8 and is scheduled to be sentenced in May of 2024. Two co-defendants, 57-year-old Theodore Fasca and 56-year-old Michael Hillen, pleaded guilty previously and are also scheduled to be sentenced next spring.
Gibson was the former Executive Vice President of Power Generation and the Head of Sales for North America for a unnamed company, identified as “Company 1” in court documents. Hillen was a former account manager at Company 1 and Fasca was the former Director of Generation System Planning for Dominion Energy.
In March 2019, Dominion Energy began a closed bid process for proposals to build a $500 million “Peaker” combustion turbine power plant in Chesterfield County. Three companies bid for the project, General Electric (GE), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Company 1. All three companies signed non-disclosure agreements which restricted the disclosure of confidential information to Dominion during the bidding process.
After the three companies submitted their bids to Dominion, Fasca and Hillen worked to funnel confidential information from GE and Mitsubishi to Company 1 using private email accounts, giving them an advantage over the other two companies in the bidding process and in future bids. Gibson then shared this information to other senior executives at Company 1, as well as representatives of Company 1’s parent company in Germany.
After finding out about GE and Mitsubishi’s bids, Gibson got approval from his superiors at Company 1 to resubmit a lower bid which undercut GE and Mitsubishi. Company 1 ended up being selected by Dominion to build the plant.
Gibson is facing a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison, while both Fasca and Hillen are facing maximum sentences of five years each.