The Justice Department on Tuesday unsealed a 32-count indictment charging six men with economic espionage and theft of trade secrets for their alleged efforts on behalf of universities and companies controlled by the Chinese government.
Those charged, all Chinese citizens, include Tianjin University Professor Hao Zhang, who was arrested May 16 upon entering the United States at Los Angeles International Airport.
“The defendants leveraged their access to and knowledge of sensitive U.S. technologies to illegally obtain and share U.S. trade secrets with the PRC for economic advantage,” Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin said in a statement.
The indictment alleges that Zhang and other co-conspirators stole source code, specifications, presentations, design layouts and other documents marked as confidential and proprietary from U.S. companies and shared the information with one another and with individuals working for Tianjin University.
Zhang, 36, is a former employee of Skyworks Solutions in Massachusetts. He and Wei Pang, another of the indicted individuals and also a profeessor at Tianjin University, met at what Justice Department officials identified as “a U.S. university in Southern California during their doctoral studies in electrical engineering.”
Pang later worked for Avago Technologies, a Colorado-based firm. A third man, Jinping Chen, 41, is also a professor at Tianjin University, and a fourth man is a graduate student at the school.