The Coke-Pepsi rivalry took a bizarre twist when several Coca-Cola employees who had reportedly tried to sell trade secrets were taken into custody by federal authorities Wednesday after Pepsi tipped Coke off to the scheme.
Three suspects were charged with stealing confidential information—including a sample of a new drink—from The Coca-Cola Co. and trying to sell it to PepsiCo. for $1.5 million, according to the Associated Press.
More specifically, they are accused of going through Coke’s files and stuffing documents and a sample of a new Coca-Cola product into a personal bag, the wire service elaborated. The three were charged with wire fraud and unlawfully stealing and selling Coke trade secrets.
The scheme was uncovered when Pepsi notified Coke, according to The Wall Street Journal. Coke contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation on May 24.
The scheme ultimately unraveled after an undercover agent paid off one of the defendants with $30,000 stuffed into a Girl Scout cookie box, the Journal explained, citing prosecutors.
The three individual charged are Ibrahim Dimson, Edmund Duhaney, and Joya Williams. Williams, an executive administrative assistant, reported directly to Javier Sanchez-Lamelas, global brand director of Coca-Cola, according to The New York Times.