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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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