Military Technical Data and Trade Secrets to China
On Mar. 25, 2013, Sixing Liu, aka “Steve Liu,” a native of China with a PhD in electrical engineering who worked as a senior staff engineer for Space & Navigation, a New Jersey-based division of L-3 Communications, was sentenced in the District of New Jersey to 70 months in prison for exporting sensitive U.S. military technology to China, stealing trade secrets and lying to federal agents. On Sep. 26, 2012, Liu was convicted of nine of 11 counts of an Apr. 5, 2012 second superseding indictment, specifically six counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act, one count of possessing stolen trade secrets in violation of the Economic Espionage Act, one count of transporting stolen property, and one count of lying to federal agents. The jury acquitted Liu on two counts of lying to federal agents. According to documents filed in the case and evidence presented at trial, in 2010, Liu stole thousands of electronic files from his employer, L-3 Communications, Space and Navigation Division. The stolen files detailed the performance and design of guidance systems for missiles, rockets, target locators, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Liu stole the files to position and prepare himself for future employment in China. As part of that plan, Liu delivered presentations about the technology at several Chinese universities, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and conferences organized by Chinese government entities. However, Liu was not charged with any crimes related to those presentations. On Nov. 12, 2010, Liu boarded a flight from Newark to China. Upon his return to the United States on Nov. 29, 2010, agents found Liu in possession of a non-work-issued computer found to contain the stolen material. The following day, Liu lied to ICE agents about the extent of his work on U.S. defense technology. The State Department later verified that several of the stolen files on Liu’s computer contained technical data that relates to defense items listed on the United States Munitions List. The jury also heard testimony that Liu’s company trained him about the United States’ export control laws and told him that most of the company’s products were covered by those laws. Liu was first arrested on Mar. 8, 201, in Chicago on a complaint in the District of New Jersey charging him with one count of exporting defense-related technical data without a license. The investigation was conducted by the FBI, ICE and CBP.