Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ringleader takes plea deal in Silicon Valley’s largest ever chip heist

The ringleader of a $37 million computer chip heist in Fremont in 2011 pleaded no contest to four robbery counts in an agreement that calls for him to get an 18-year prison term. Faustino Adona, 46, of San Jose was one of 16 men who invaded Unigen Corp., a silicon and modules design and manufacturing company. They wore masks and were armed with handguns and a rifle. They bound five Unigen employees at gunpoint and forced them into a backroom. They then loaded nearly 2 million flash memory chips onto a truck and drove away.

The heist was an inside job as two of the thieves worked at Unigen.
Adona was arrested in the Philippines and it took an extended period to get him extradited back to the U.S. for prosecution. He is the last of the 14 criminals who were involved in the case. The men were charged with multiple counts of armed robbery and kidnapping for robbery.

The stolen chips were intended for sale in Asia but most were recovered.

The majority of the thieves were sentenced to state prison terms ranging from 15 to 17 years.