July 11, 2019
July 11, 2019 4:40 PM EDT
U.S. and Chinese flag.Getty Images
A University of California, Los Angeles electrical engineering professor has been found guilty by a jury of sending stolen U.S military technology to China.
On June 26 the professor, Yi-Chi Shih, 64, was convicted on 18 federal charges, meaning he now faces fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars and up to 219 years in prison, Newsweek reports.
According to a news release from the Department of Justice, the charges included conspiracy to break the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), committing mail and wire fraud, subscribing to a false tax return, making false statements to a government agency, and conspiring to gain unauthorized access to information on a protected computer.
Campus Reform reported Shih has been serving as an adjunct professor at UCLA and while he faces prison time, his sentencing hearing has not yet been set.
Assistant Attorney General Demers said in the news release: “The defendant has been found guilty of conspiring to export sensitive semiconductor chips with military applications to China.”
United States Attorney Nick Hanna said: “This defendant schemed to export to China semiconductors with military and civilian uses, then he lied about it to federal authorities and failed to report income generated by the scheme on his tax returns.”
This photo taken on April 24, 2018 shows a J15 fighter jet landing on China’s sole operational aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, during a drill at sea. Getty Images
According to trial evidence, Shih conspired with his co-defendant, Kiet Ahn Mai, 65, to illegally access the computer of the American company that manufactures wide-band, high power semiconductor chips called monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs).
MMICs are used in a variety of military tech including missiles, missile guidance systems, fighter jets, electronic warfare, electronic warfare countermeasures, and radar applications.
The semiconductor chips were shipped to the Chengdu GaStone Technology Company (CGTC) that was building an MMIC manufacturing plant in Chengdu.
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In 2014, the CGTC was placed on the Commerce Department’s entity list “due to its involvement in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interest of the United States,” according to court documents.
The proprietary tech the victim company makes is created for American clients that include the Air Force, Navy, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.