New York Man Sentenced for Economic Espionage
A New York man and former employee of General Electric in Schenectady, New York has been sentenced to prison for conspiring to steal General Electric trade secrets.
According to a press release from the United States Department of Justice, 59-year-old Xiaoqing Zheng was sentenced to 24 months in prison after being convicted following a four week trial of conspiracy to steal General Electric trade secrets, knowing or intending to benefit the People's Republic of China.
Zheng was employed as an engineer for General Electric from 2008 to 2018, at which time he and others in China conspired to steal trade secrets from General Electric relating to turbine technology. He also faced 11 additional counts by the jury either acquitted or was unable to return a unanimous verdict on any of those counts.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division stated "This is a case of textbook economic espionage. Zheng exploited his position of trust, betrayed his employer and conspired with the government of China to steal innovative American technology. The Justice Department will hold accountable those who threaten our national security by conniving to steal valuable trade secrets on behalf of a foreign power."
In addition to the 24 month prison sentence, Zheng was also sentenced to pay a $7,500 fine and serve one year of post-imprisonment supervised release.
Assistant Director Alan Kohler Jr. of the FBI Counterintelligence Division stated "American ingenuity is an integral part of the United States economic security, it is what has guided the U.S. to become the global leader, even as China seeks to topple our status. Xiaoqing Zheng was a Thousand Talents Program member and willingly sold proprietary technology and sent it back to the PRC."