Ex-Dow Agro scientist set to be sentenced in espionage case

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Federal prosecutors are recommending that a former Dow AgroSciences researcher be sentenced to more than seven years in prison for sending trade secrets worth millions to China and Germany.

Kexue Huang is set to be sentenced at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis after pleading guilty to the charge in October.

Federal sentencing guidelines call for Huang to spend 70 months to 87 months in prison, but prosecutors argued in a Dec. 12 court filing that he should receive a sentence at the “high end” of the guidelines.

“While the defendant previously did not have any criminal convictions, in only a few years he committed two serious offenses involving the misappropriation of trade secrets from two previously established U.S. companies,” prosecutors wrote. “In both instances, he disregarded his obligations of non-disclosure by breaching the confidentiality agreements which he signed.”

Chinese-born Huang worked as a researcher for Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis from January 2003 until his firing in February 2008. He also held a similar position at Cargill Inc.

Huang was indicted first in Minnesota, alleged to have obtained trade secrets of a food product from Cargill. He also was indicted in Indiana last year on 12 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets and was alleged to have passed on information about a Dow Agro organic pesticide.

“The only thing which stopped him was being fired by both companies, and ultimately, being arrested and prosecuted by the U.S. government,” prosecutors wrote.

The case was brought under the Economic Espionage Act, passed in 1996 after the U.S. realized China and other countries were targeting private businesses as part of their spy strategies.

Prosecutors said the trade secrets and biological material were given to Hunan Normal University in China, where Huang became a professor while working at Dow.

The Justice Department said Dow invested $300 million developing the information that Huang stole, but the plea agreement valued the total losses from Huang’s conduct at $7 million to $20 million.

Dow AgroSciences is a subsidiary of Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co.

Huang is a Canadian citizen with permanent U.S. resident status.
This story originally ran on Dec. 21, 2011.



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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues