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Apple Secrets Leaked to Traders in Espionage Case

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Industrial espionage never had that James Bond thrill. Instead of ballistic pens and machine gun-toting skiers, the cloak and dagger players in the corporate world rely on sales receipts and shipping info.

However, oddly enough, just one of those forms could potentially net a profit that could put a nice down payment on a volcano lair.

That's presumably what 57-year-old Alnoor Ebrahim hoped for when he acquired secret info from Apple (AAPL) and RIM (RIMM) as part of an expert-network ring while working for AT&T (T). On Monday, the former employee plead guilty to selling inside information to traders who then went on to buy shares based on the intel, Reuters reported.

"I provided insider information concerning AT&T's sales of Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry products, as well as other handset set devices sold through AT&T distribution channels," Ebrahim said in a Manhattan court.

Ebrahim admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud. After entering into a plea agreement with the defense, he could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison.

An AT&T spokesperson was quick to play damage control.

"We took this matter very seriously and cooperated fully with the authorities," AT&T spokesman Marty Richtman said. "The conduct alleged was clearly against our code of business conduct, and Mr. Ebrahim is no longer an AT&T employee."

Ebrahim's indictment is part of a federal crackdown on insider trading, which recently nabbed former Goldman Sachs (GS) board member Rajat Gupta.

Unfortunately, like in Ebrahim's case, Gupta's arrest did not require knockout gas or a briefcase grappling hook.

(See also: Apple Co-Founder Hates Siri, Too and iPhone Can't Match Android's Versatility, Says Steve Wozniak)

Twitter: @mcs212
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.