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Ford engineer may have bugged conference rooms

The FBI is investigating a possible industrial espionage case involving a Ford Motor Company engineer who allegedly placed listening devices in conference rooms.
The FBI is investigating a possible industrial espionage case involving a Ford Motor Company engineer who allegedly placed listening devices in conference rooms.
Ford Motor Company

A Ford Motor Company engineer is being investigated by the FBI for allegedly planting hidden listening devices in conference rooms inside Ford’s World Headquarters building in Dearborn, MI, according to a report in Automotive News.

According to court documents obtained by The Detroit News, the engineer being investigated is Sharon Leach, age 43 of Wyandotte, MI. According to The Detroit News, Leach had been employed by Ford for 17 years. Leach was fired from the company in June.

According to Automotive News, Ford’s security team discovered the listening devices and then contacted the FBI.

The Detroit News also reports the FBI has seized a computer and other items from Leach’s home and has also contacted Google to obtain Leach’s emails and other electronic records.

There is conflicting information as to whether the FBI searched Ford's headquarters building. According to Autoblog, Ford Global Corporate Communications Manager Susan Krusel issued the following statement:

"Ford initiated an investigation of a now former employee and requested the assistance of the FBI. Ford's offices were not searched by the agency; Ford voluntarily provided the information and items requested in the search warrant. We continue to work in cooperation with the FBI on this joint investigation. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to provide additional details."

Leach’s attorney stated that, so far, Leach has not been charged with any crime. According to The Detroit News, the attorney said Leach was fired in June after Ford’s security team discovered the listening devices. The attorney said Leach admitted using the devices “to help her transcribe meetings.”