University of California-Los Angeles (ACLU) adjunct professor Yi-Chi Shih has been convicted of attempting to steal missile secrets on behalf of China, and faces up to 219 years in prison as a result of his criminal actions.
The 64-year-old electrical engineer and part-time resident of Los Angeles was convicted of 18 federal charges on June 26 and may lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in addition to a sentence in prison that will likely keep him locked behind bars for the rest of his life.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release about the case noting that Shih was found “guilty of mail fraud, wire fraud, subscribing to a false tax return, making false statements to a government agency and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.”
This is apart of a crackdown against China’s malign activities to steal the military secrets of the United States and assist them as they continue their march toward being the world’s top superpower.
“The Department’s China Initiative is focused on preventing and prosecuting thefts of American technology and intellectual property for the benefit of China,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers.
“The defendant has been found guilty of conspiring to export sensitive semiconductor chips with military applications to China. I would like to thank the prosecutors and agents, including those from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for theirs efforts in this successful investigation and prosecution,” Demers added.
Other federal officials noted the seriousness of Shih’s criminal activities.
“This defendant schemed to export to China semiconductors with military and civilian uses, then he lied about it to federal authorities and failed to report income generated by the scheme on his tax returns,” United States Attorney Nick Hanna said.
“My office will enforce laws that protect our nation’s intellectual property from being used to benefit foreign adversaries who may compromise our national security,” Hanna added.
“The FBI is committed to protecting institutions from adversaries who seek to steal sensitive American technology under the guise of research. We will continue to work collaboratively with our federal partners to identify and hold accountable individuals who plunder our research or intellectual property at the expense of the American people and our national security,” said Assistant Director in Charge Paul Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
Shih’s co-conspirator Kiet Ahn Mai, who assisted Shih in his illegal activities, pleaded guilty to felony smuggling in December and will face up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 19. Mai’s sentencing date has not been scheduled at the current time.
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