Theft of Trade Secrets for Technologically Advanced Titanium to China
On Nov. 7, 2014, in the District of Connecticut, Yu Long was arrested in Ithaca, NY, pursuant to a federal criminal complaint which charged Long with attempting to travel to China with sensitive proprietary documents that set forth detailed equations and test results used in the development of technologically advanced titanium for U.S. military aircraft. The documents were taken from a Connecticut defense contractor where Long had been employed. Long attempted, two days earlier, to fly to China from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. As alleged in the complaint affidavit and in statements made in court, Long holds Chinese citizenship and is a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. From approximately Aug. 2008 to May 2014, Long worked as a Senior Engineer/Scientist at a research and development center for a major defense contractor in Connecticut (“Company A”). Both during and after his employment there, Long traveled to the People’s Republic of China. Most recently, on Aug. 19, 2014, Long returned to the U.S. from China through John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. During a secondary inspection screening by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, Long was found in the possession of $10,000.00 in undeclared U.S. cash, registration documents for a new corporation being set up in China, and a largely completed application for work with a state-controlled aviation and aerospace research center in China. The application materials highlighted certain of Long’s work history and experiences that he claimed to have obtained while employed at Company A, including work on F119 and F135 engines. The F119 engine is employed by the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft. The F135 engine is employed by the U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. According to the criminal complaint and statements made in court, on Nov. 5, 2014, Long boarded a flight from Ithaca to Newark Liberty International Airport, with a final destination of China. During Long’s layover in Newark, CBP officers inspected Long’s checked baggage and discovered that it contained, among other things, sensitive, proprietary and export controlled documents from another major defense contractor located outside the state of Connecticut (“Company B”). Further investigation determined that the U.S. Air Force had convened a consortium of major defense contractors, including Company A and Company B, to work together to see whether they could collectively lower the costs of certain metals used. As part of those efforts, members of the consortium shared technical data, subject to stringent restrictions on further dissemination. Company B reviewed the Company B documents found in Long’s possession at Newark Liberty Airport and confirmed that it provided the documents to Company A as part of the consortium. Company B further confirmed that Long was never an employee of Company B. A review of Company A’s computer records indicated that Long had printed the documents while employed at Company A. The documents bore warnings that they contained sensitive, proprietary and export controlled material, which could not be copied or communicated to a third party. This investigation was conducted by the FBI, HSI, and CBP.