Report: Former Ford Engineer Investigated For Espionage

Ford Motor Company is working with the FBI into an investigation over corporate espionage. The Detroit News reported this morning that former Ford engineer Sharon Leach is accused of planting electronic listening devices at Ford headquarters.

Ford spokesperson Susan Krusel confirmed the investigation was started by Ford and involved a former employee, and that the company had asked for the FBI’s help. “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,” she said in an emailed statement.

According to The Detroit News, Leach was a Ford employee for 17 years, and admitted to her lawyer that she hid recording devices in conference rooms to help her transcribe meeting notes. She was reportedly fired by Ford in June after admitting to using the recorders. Leach has not yet been formally charged with a crime.

FBI agents reportedly searched Leach’s home and seized computers, electronics, and other records. Krusel said that Ford gave FBI agents other items within Ford headquarters that were listed on a search warrant; she denied a report in The Detroit News that the FBI had searched all of Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan, headquarters.

“Ford’s offices were not searched by the agency; Ford voluntarily provided the information and items requested in the search warrant,” Krusel wrote in an email.