A Chinese-born American woman has been sentenced to four years in jail for stealing millions of dollars in trade secrets from Motorola.
Former software engineer Hanjuan Jin was stopped while trying to board a plane bound for China, with a large number of confidential Motorola files. Prosecutors said she was carrying $31,000 and more than 1,000 confidential Motorola documents, many stored on a laptop, four external hard drives, thumb drives and other devices.
She was acquitted of economic espionage.
Her lawyers had argued that she took the files merely to refresh her knowledge after a long absence from work and was not spying for China.
They appealed for leniency and asked that Jin receive probation, in part because of her poor health. She has recently been battling meningitis, tuberculosis and cancer, according to her attorneys.
But US District Judge Ruben Castillo said it was important to send a message that would deter others with access to trade secrets from siphoning off vital information.
The judge said the evidence fell short of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that she stole the information to ultimately benefit the Chinese military, as prosecutors alleged.
However Castillo noted that Jin had also possessed confidential Chinese military documents and was identified as an employee of China-based Sun Kaisens, a telecommunications firm that US government lawyers said develops products for China’s military.