Former Colgate researcher sentenced to 21 months for stealing toothpaste formulas

This case left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

A former Colgate-Palmolive Co. researcher CL,
+ 1.08%
he has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for stealing secret toothpaste formulas and sending them to a company he had set up abroad.

Muamer Reci, 58, of Haskell, NJ, had worked in a Colgate lab for nearly 20 years where he had access to patented prescriptions for the company’s famous toothpastes and oral hygiene products, prosecutors said.

In 2012, Reci and two other people set up a consumer hygiene and cleaning company called Reci & Sons, and three years later they set up a subsidiary called Reci Enterprises in Macedonia, according to court documents. Prosecutors said Reci never told Colgate about his business.

The following year, prosecutors say, Colgate officials discovered a document in their work email entitled “Eurodent Project” outlining plans for Reci Enterprises to develop a toothpaste called Eurodent for sale overseas. The plan valued the business at $ 2 million and aimed to build and launch manufacturing facilities by the end of 2017.

Reci later sent secret recipes for Colgate toothpastes, including an unpublished dry mouth toothpaste and a toothpaste for children, to use for the launch of his business, prosecutors say.

“Print this [sic] formulas and file them, “prosecutors Reci wrote in an email.

Colgate officials said the formulas were worth tens of millions of dollars in research and development costs.

Reci was arrested in early 2019 and pleaded guilty to electronic fraud later that year. In addition to his prison sentence, Reci was sentenced to pay $ 188,000 in restitution.

Reci’s lawyer, Ronald Ricci, said his client “acknowledged the wrongdoing and has fully accepted responsibility in the case”.

“He intends to make a full refund.” Ricci said.

Colgate-Palmolive representatives did not immediately respond to a message requesting comments.

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