Random Search Stops $600 Million In Trade Secrets Bound For China

Random Search Stops $600 Million In Trade Secrets Bound For China
Random Search Stops $600 Million In Trade Secrets Bound For China 7001607 

By Thomas Claburn
April 3, 2008

A former software engineer for a telecommunications company based near 
Chicago was indicted for allegedly stealing trade secrets worth an 
estimated $600 million and trying to take the documents to China.

The FBI said Wednesday that Hanjuan Jin of Schaumburg, Ill., a 
naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in China, was stopped at Chicago's 
O'Hare International Airport on Feb. 28, 2007, in a random search.

According to an affidavit filed by FBI special agent Michael R. 
Diekmann, Jin was traveling on a one-way ticket to Beijing at the time. 
She declared that she had $10,000 in U.S. currency in her carry-on 
luggage. Customs and Border Protection officers found about $30,000 in 

According to Diekmann, this prompted officers to further inspect Jin's 
luggage, whereupon they found several technical documents labeled 
"[Company A] Confidential Property," Chinese documents, a European 
company's product catalog of military technology written in English, a 
personal laptop computer, a thumb drive, four external hard drives, 29 
recordable compact discs, and one videotape.

A search of the thumb drive and hard drives, conducted with Jin's 
consent, revealed numerous documents marked "[Company A] Confidential 
Property." Initially, Jin told customs officers she worked for Company 
A. In a subsequent interview with law enforcement agents, Jin said she 
was on medical leave from Company A. She later said she worked for 
Company A and Company B at the same time. Company B is a Chicago-area 
company that competes with Company A.

Diekmann's affidavit and the indictment do not name either Company A or 
Company B.

Schaumburg-based Motorola (NYSE: MOT) is one of several 
telecommunications companies that Jin might have worked for. Asked to 
confirm or deny whether Jin had ever worked for Motorola, company 
spokeswoman Paula Thornton said in an e-mail," We are not able to do so, 
as Motorola does not comment on questions associated with pending 
prosecutions or ongoing governmental investigations."

Nortel (NYSE: NT) also maintains an office in Schaumburg. A Dallas-based 
spokeswoman for the company said she'd never heard the name Hanjuan Jin.

Another possibility might be American Telecommunications Corp. When 
called, the person answering the phone declined to make a media contact 
available and hung up.

Jin was released, though customs agents retained the documents marked 
confidential and her computer equipment. She was again stopped at O'Hare 
on March 1, 2007, while traveling on another one-way ticket to Beijing.

Following a subsequent search of her home, Jin was arrested on March 7 
based on a criminal complaint brought by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the U.S. 
attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. She was released on 
$50,000 bond.

If Jin is convicted, each of the three counts against her carries a 
maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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