A federal judge in Chicago has ruled that Hanjuan Jin, a Chinese-born ex-Motorola engineer, is guilty of stealing trade secrets but not of economic espionage against the United States, the Associated Press reported.
A random security search at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Feb. 28, 2007, revealed that Jin was taking a one-way trip to Beijing with more than 1,000 Motorola Inc. documents and $30,000 in cash, Bloomberg News reported. Jin, 41, a Notre Dame graduate who joined Motorola in 1998, had returned from a yearlong medical leave of absence just two days earlier.
Federal prosecutors accused her of working for Kai Sun News (Beijing) Technology Co., or SunKaisens, which was affiliated with China’s military, Bloomberg News reported.
According to the AP:
Jin's attorney, Beth Gaus, conceded that her client violated Motorola policy by removing the documents. But she said Jin harbored no ill intent and merely grabbed the files to refresh her technical knowledge after her long absence from work.
Jin’s lawyer also argued that she hadn’t stolen trade secrets because the information she’d taken did not fit the definition of trade secrets, the AP reported. The technologies were not cutting edge and Motorola had not secured the documents in a way that would suggest the company considered them to be vital secrets, Gaus claimed.
US District Judge Ruben Castillo said that federal prosecutors convinced him that Jin had "criminally betrayed Motorola" but not that she was working on behalf of a foreign government or company, Reuters reported.
Jin faces up to 10 years in prison for each of the three theft counts on which she was convicted, the AP reported.
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