A chemical engineer will be serving 14 years in prison and pay a 200,000 dollars fine for economic espionage and trade secrets theft for China.
Prosecutors say 59-year-old Xiaorong You, aka Shannon You, from Michigan, stole trade secrets about materials used in cans for soda and other drinks to benefit the Chinese government.
A federal judge delivered the verdict on Monday after a jury convicted her last month of charges of stealing trade secrets, economic espionage, and wire fraud.
The Chinese chemist worked as the principal engineer for global research at Coca-Cola in Atlanta from 2012 to 2017. She was also a development manager at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee, from 2017 through 2018.
So she can access to secrets of BPA-free internal coatings of drink cans
The Justice Department stated the major chemical and coating companies spent nearly 120 million dollars to develop these trade secrets.
Prosecutors say Shannon You then allegedly set up a BPA-free coating company in China. Shannon You and her Chinese partner, Weihai Jinhong Group, received millions of dollars in Chinese government grants for this venture.
One of the grants includes a Thousand Talents Plan award, a notorious program of Beijing to attract foreign talents. The U.S. has criticized this Beijing-sponsored scheme for espionage and intellectual property theft.
Kenneth A. Polite Jr., an Assistant Attorney General from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said:
“Here, the defendant intended not only to enrich herself and her China-based partners but also the government of China…
Crimes like the defendants threaten both victim companies and the economic security of the nation as a whole.”