Ex-Motorola employee gets 4 years in prison for stealing trade secrets

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41-year-old Hanjuan Jin has been convicted of stealing trade secrets from Motorola and sentenced to four years in federal prison. The Chinese-born software engineer was stopped by customs and subsequently arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in 2007 as she prepared to board a China-bound flight carrying over a thousand Motorola documents and $30,000 in cash.

US District Judge Ruben Castillo also fined Jin $20,000 and ordered her to remain under house arrest with an electronic monitoring device until her sentence gets under way on October 25. The judge went on to say that the most important thing this country can do is protect its trade secrets. All things considered, the former software engineer got off lightly as she was facing up to 30 years behind bars.

Authorities believe she was part of a larger Chinese spying operation. Jin worked for Motorola for nine years but was moonlighting for Chinese telecommunications company Sun Kaisens, who happens to be a supplier for the Chinese military. Fortunately for her, she was cleared of engaging in economic espionage for her home country.

Motorola spokesperson Nick Sweers said Motorola Solutions appreciates the significant efforts the government devoted to investigating and prosecuting this case. Acting US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Gary S. Shapiro echoed those sentiments, pointing out that US officials will do everything they can to guard economic and national security from the theft of American trade secrets.

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