Wed, 25 May 2022

Washington [US], May 10 (ANI): A woman in the US state of Michigan was sentenced to 14 years in prison for a scheme to steal trade secrets, engage in economic espionage and commit fraud, the US Justice Department said in a statement.

The defendant was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay a USD 200,000 fine.

In April 2021, Xiaorong You, aka Shannon You, 59, of Lansing, Michigan, was convicted of conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, conspiracy to commit economic espionage, possession of stolen trade secrets, economic espionage and wire fraud.

According to court documents, You stole valuable trade secrets related to formulations for bisphenol-A-free (BPA-free) coatings for the inside of beverage cans.

You was granted access to the trade secrets while working at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, and Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee.

The stolen trade secrets belonged to major chemical and coating companies including Akzo-Nobel, BASF, Dow Chemical, PPG, Toyochem, Sherwin Williams and Eastman Chemical Company, and cost nearly USD 120 million to develop.

You stole the trade secrets to set up a new BPA-free coating company in China. You and her Chinese corporate partner, Weihai Jinhong Group, received millions of dollars in Chinese government grants to support the new company.

"As the evidence at trial showed, the defendant stole valuable trade secrets and intended to use them to benefit not only a foreign company, but also the government of China," said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division.

"Today's sentence reflects the seriousness of this offense, as well as the Department of Justice's commitment to protect our nation's security by investigating and prosecuting those who steal U.S. companies' intellectual property."U.S. Attorney Francis Hamilton for the Eastern District of Tennessee, said stealing trade secrets of U.S. companies for the benefit of the Chinese government will be vigorously prosecuted.

"The corporate vigilance and subsequent cooperation with federal law enforcement that brought this defendant to justice is to be commended; our national security depends on it," he added. (ANI)

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