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Chinese National Pleads to Theft of Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com
 
In Indiana, in the heart of the Midwest, a Chinese national working for two major U.S. companies pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing trade secrets about food products and pesticides and giving them to people in China and Germany, the Justice Department announced.

 It marked the first time ever that the feds in Indiana had prosecuted a trade secret case.
 
Authorities pegged the losses from the criminal deeds of Kexue Huang, who lived in Carmel, Ind., at more than $7 million, but less than $20 million. He pleaded guilty to theft of trade secrets and economic espionage.
 
Huang worked as a research scientist for Dow Chemical, based in Midland, Mi.  from January 2003 until February 2008, a company that  provides agrochemical and biotechnology products. After Huang left Dow, he was hired in March 2008 by Cargill, an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services.

Huang admitted that he sent  trade secrets to  Germany and the Peoples Republic of China, the Justice Department said.  He and his collaborators then used the information to conduct unauthorized research in an effort to benefit foreign universities serving the Peoples Republic of China.

Authorities said he also  sought to use the trade secrets to establish sites in China from which he could compete directly with Dow in the organic pesticide market.

Court documents show that after his employment with Dow, Huang worked for Cargill beginning in 2008, again disclosing trade secrets, this time to a student at Hunan Normal University in China.

From that company, the Justice Department said, he stole a company trade secret — a key component in the manufacture of a new food product, which he later gave to a student at Hunan Normal University in China.

“Among the various economic espionage and theft of trade secret cases that the FBI has investigated in Indiana, the vast majority involve an inside employee with legitimate access who is stealing in order to benefit another organization or country,” Robert J. Holley, head of the Indianapolis FBI said in a statement.

“This type of threat, which the FBI refers to as the Insider Threat, often causes the most damage. In order to maintain our competitive advantage in these sectors, industry must identify their most important equities, realize that they are a target, implement internal protection mechanisms to protect their intellectual property, and communicate issues of concern immediately to the FBI.”

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