An Illinois man who worked for a New Jersey-based defense contractor was found guilty Wednesday of taking trade secrets from his employer and presenting them in his native China.
Sixing Liu is a former employee of Space & Navigation, a New Jersey division of New York-based L3 Communications. The 47-year-old was arrested at his home in Deerfield, Ill., in March 2011 and accused of taking restricted military data and presenting it at two conferences in China the previous fall. Prosecutors argued the technology was proprietary and could be used for target locators and other military applications.
A federal jury in Newark found Liu guilty on nine counts, including exporting defense-related data without a license and possessing stolen trade secrets. He was acquitted on two counts of lying to federal authorities.
Liu was ordered held until his Jan 7 sentencing. He faces up to 20 years in prison and possible deportation.
According to the indictment, Liu took a personal laptop computer to conferences on nanotechnology in Chongqing in 2009 and Shanghai in 2010 and, while there, gave presentations that described the technology he was working on, in violation of U.S. laws that prohibit exporting defense materials without a license or approval from the Department of State.
Returning from Shanghai in November 2010, prosecutors say Liu lied about his involvement in the conference when questioned by customs officials at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Liu’s attorney, James Tunick, had argued his client had not intentionally violated any rules and had downloaded information on his personal laptop to work on outside the office. Tunick also said Liu had received only brief training on the company’s restrictions on sharing proprietary information and was not familiar with U.S. import-export rules. He also sought to downplay the conferences in China as academic gatherings that featured professors from many countries, including the U.S.