Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 4/13/2011 09:01:00 AM

Six Year Sentence for Former Ford Employee Convicted of Trade Secret Theft

By Todd

Xiang Dong Yu, aka Mike Yu, of Beijing, China pled guilty back on November 18, 2010 to a criminal violation of the Economic Espionage Act. Mr. Yu was a product engineer at the Dearborn, Mich. auto maker from 1997 to 2007. In December 2006, on the eve of his departure from Ford, Mr. Yu copied some 4,000 Ford documents onto an external hard drive, according to his plea deal. In November 2008, Mr. Yu began working for Beijing Automotive Company. Upon his arrest in October 2009 in the U.S., the FBI discovered that 41 Ford design documents had been copied to Mr. Yu's Beijing Automotive Company work computer.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Mr. Yu was sentenced Tuesday to 70 months in prison and will be deported to China after his release. He worked at Ford for 10 years and quit the company by sending an e-mail from China in January 2007. It was a tip from Mr. Yu's girlfriend that led Ford to investigate the matter.

2010 and 2011 will certainly go down in history as the year of the Economic Espionage Act in terms of prosecutions, convictions and sentences.


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