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Hua Jun Zhao, 42, may have stolen the compound from a Medical College office in Milwaukee and taken steps to deliver it to Zhejiang University, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent’s affidavit in support of a criminal complaint dated March 29.
Hua Jun Zhao may have stolen the cancer-research compound from an office at the Medical College of Wisconsin and taken steps to deliver it to Zhejiang University in China.
Hua Jun Zhao may have stolen the cancer-research compound from an office at the Medical College of Wisconsin and taken steps to deliver it to Zhejiang University in China. Source: Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office via Bloomberg
.A copy of the complaint against Zhao was obtained today from the office of Milwaukee U.S. Attorney James L. Santelle.
“There is probable cause to believe that Hua Jun Zhao has committed the crime of economic espionage,” FBI Special Agent Gerald Shinneman wrote in his nine-page affidavit.
Zhao joins a Motorola Inc. engineer and a researcher at Dow AgroSciences LLC who, in separate cases, have been accused by the U.S. of economic espionage or stealing on behalf of Chinese entities.
Zhao is in the Milwaukee County Jail and no bail has been set, said Fran McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department.
Dean Puschnig, a spokesman for Santelle, declined to comment on the status of Zhao’s case. Theft of trade secrets to benefit a foreign government is punishable by as long as 15 years’ imprisonment. A preliminary hearing for Zhao is set for April 11 before Magistrate Judge Patricia Gorence in Milwaukee.
Juval Scott, a federal public defender representing Zhao, said in a phone interview today that her office had no information beyond what is contained in the criminal complaint.
“We’re looking forward to discovery,” Scott said. “This is an unusual case. Nationwide there have only been a few cases.”
Hanjuan Jin, a former Motorola software engineer, last year was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing trade secrets from the company. While accused of planning to share that information with a company that had ties to the Chinese military, she was acquitted of economic espionage.
A former Dow AgroSciences researcher, Kexue Huang, was sentenced to seven years and three months in federal prison in 2011 after pleading guilty in two consolidated cases to stealing trade secrets to benefit a Chinese university.