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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 IBJ.com Dec. 21, 2011.

 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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