United States v. Jin

Jin, a naturalized American citizen of Chinese origin, with a bachelor’s degree in physics from a Chinese university and master’s degrees in physics and computer science from American universities, was employed as a Motorola software engineer, 1998-2007. Her duties involved a cellular telecommunications system: Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (IDEN). While on medical leave in China, 2006-2007, she sought a job with a Chinese company, Sun Kaisens, which develops telecommunications technology for the Chinese armed forces. She returned to the U.S., bought a one‐way ticket to China on a plane scheduled to leave Chicago days later, then downloaded thousands of internal Motorola documents, stamped proprietary, disclosing details of IDEN, which she was carrying with $31,000 when stopped by Customs agents. She stated she intended to live in China and work for Sun Kaisens. She was convicted of theft of trade secrets, but acquitted of economic espionage, under the Economic Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. 1831, 1832, and sentenced to 48 months in prison. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting arguments that what she stole was not a trade secret and that she neither intended nor knew that the theft would harm Motorola. The court characterized the sentence as lenient, given Jin’s egregious conduct, which included repeatedly lying to federal agents.p View "United States v. Jin" on Justia Law