By Paul Roberts
November 22, 2010
A ten year veteran of the U.S. automaker Ford Motor Company pleaded
guilty in federal court on November 17 to charges that he stole company
secrets, including design documents, worth more than $50 million and
sharing them with his new employer: the Chinese division of a U.S. rival
Xiang Dong ("Mike") Yu admitted to copying some 4,000 Ford Documents to
a external hard drive, including system design specifications for Ford's
cars after surreptitiously taking a job with a competitor in 2006.
Under the plea agreement, announced last week, Yu faces a sentence
ranging from five to six years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000
for a theft of trade secrets valued at between $50 million and $100
million, according to a statement by Barbara L. McQuade, the United
States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
According to the Plea Agreement, Yu obtained documents containing prized
Ford design documents, including those for components such as an
Engine/Transmission Mounting Subsystem, Electrical Distribution system,
Electric Power Supply, Electrical Subsystem and Generic Body Module. Yu
was a Product Engineer at Ford, where he had worked since 1997, but the
documents taken had no connection to his work at Ford.
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