China-born engineer guilty of economic espionage

At the beginning of June, the first economic espionage trial in the United States got under way. Today, about six weeks later, the verdict is in: an engineer who once worked for Boeing has been found guilty of stealing trade secrets and passing them on to China.

Dongfan 'Greg' ChungThe trade secrets Dongfan ‘Greg’ Chung (73) shared pertained to space shuttle technology. A federal judge convicted him on charges of conspiracy to commit economic espionage, economic espionage to benefit a foreign country, acting as an agent of China and lying to the FBI.

Born in China, Chung is a naturalized U.S. citizen, who will go down in history as the first person tried and convicted under the 1996 federal law that makes stealing trade secrets for the benefit of a foreign country a criminal offense.

Chung had made bail at $250,000, but he is now in custody. His sentencing is scheduled for November 9. He could very well be living out the rest of his days in prison.

Defense attorneys argued that the information he sent to China was already publicly available in the U.S., but the prosecution maintained that the space shuttle technology was actually sensitive enough not only to put Boeing at a disadvantage but also to endanger national security. Apparently the intel China got from economic spy Chung could have been used to develop the country’s military technology.

Chung arrived in the U.S. in 1962 and started working on the space shuttle as a Rockwell International employee in 1973. He continued this work at Boeing, and although he retired in 2002, he worked for them in a consultative capacity from 2004 until the time of his arrest in 2006.

images courtesy of listphile.com and ocregister.com


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