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Chinese-American first to be convicted under Economic Espionage Act

[JURIST] Former Boeing [corporate website] engineer Dongfan "Greg" Chung was convicted [DOJ press release] Thursday of stealing corporate trade secrets related to the US Space Shuttle program and turning them over to China in the first ever trial under the Economic Espionage Act [DOJ backgrounder]. Chung, a native of China, was tried in the US District Court for the Central District of California [official website] in a non-jury trial and convicted on charges [indictment, PDF] of conspiracy to commit economic espionage, six counts of economic espionage to benefit a foreign country, one count of acting as an agent of the People’s Republic of China, and one count of making false statements to the FBI. Chung was remanded into custody to await sentencing, which is scheduled for November 9. Prosecutors plan to recommend a 15- to 20-year prison sentence [Los Angeles Times report].

Chung was arrested [DOJ press release; JURIST report] in February 2008. He worked for Rockwell International from 1973 until its defense and space unit was acquired by Boeing in 1996, and he continued to work for Boeing as an employee and then as a contractor through 2006. Chung's arrest resulted from an investigation into the case of Chi Mak [CI Centre backgrounder; JURIST report], a Chinese-American engineer convicted [BBC report] in 2007 of conspiring to smuggle sensitive naval intelligence data to China and sentenced [JURIST report] to more than 24 years in prison.

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