Chinese-American Woman’s Theft of Trade Secrets from Motorola May Lead to Maximum of 10-Year Term

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:


CHICAGO — A former software engineer for Motorola, Inc., now Motorola Solutions, Inc., a telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, was found guilty today of stealing Motorola trade secrets.

The defendant, Hanjuan Jin, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in China, possessed more than 1,000 electronic and paper Motorola proprietary documents when she was stopped by U.S. customs officials as she attempted to travel on a one-way ticket to China in February 2007.

The documents were later seized by U.S. customs officials at O’Hare International Airport.

Jin, 41, of Aurora and formerly of Schaumburg, was found guilty by U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo following a five-day bench trial from Nov. 7 to 15, 2011.

Jin “criminally betrayed Motorola by stealing its trade secrets,” Judge Castillo said in finding her guilty of three counts of theft of trade secrets.

In a 77-page opinion, Judge Castillo found her not guilty of three counts of economic espionage for the benefit of the People’s Republic of China and its military. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each count of stealing trade secrets.

Jin was ordered to remain in home confinement with electronic monitoring pending sentencing, which was scheduled for April 18 in Federal Court. The government is seeking forfeiture of assorted computer hardware and equipment that Jin possessed in February 2007, which contained a variety of Motorola’s proprietary information.

Patrick Fitzgerald

“The verdict establishes that Jin stole valuable trade secrets from an American company, and we will do everything we can to guard our economic and national security from the theft of American trade secrets.

“This case is a successful example of how we can work with victim corporations to prosecute these cases while protecting the trade secrets involved,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, who announced the verdict with Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the evidence at trial, Jin began working for Motorola in 1998, and she took a medical leave of absence in February 2006.

Between June and November 2006, while still on sick leave, Jin pursued employment in China with Sun Kaisens, a Chinese telecommunications company that developed products for the Chinese military.

Between November 2006 and February 2007, Jin returned to China and did work for Sun Kaisens on projects for the Chinese military.

During this same period of time, Jin was given classified Chinese military documents by a Sun Kaisens employee to review in order to better assist with the Chinese military projects.

After receiving these documents, Jin agreed to review the documents and provide assistance.

On Feb. 15, 2007, Jin returned to the United States from China.

On Feb. 22, 2007, Jin reserved a one-way ticket to China for a flight scheduled to depart on Feb. 28, 2007.

The following day, on Feb. 23, 2007, Jin advised Motorola that she was ready to end her medical leave and return to work at Motorola, without advising that she planned to return to China to work for Sun Kaisens.

On Feb. 26, 2007, Jin returned to Motorola, purportedly to resume full-time work, and was given no assignments by her supervisor.

Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Jin accessed more than 200 technical documents belonging to Motorola on its secure internal computer network.

At about 9 p.m. that night, Jin returned to Motorola and downloaded additional documents.

At approximately 12:15 a.m. on Feb. 27, 2007, Jin was recorded twice leaving a Motorola building with hard copy documents and other materials.

During the day on Feb. 27, 2007, Jin sent an email to her manager in which she appeared to volunteer for a layoff at Motorola.

At about 10 p.m. that night, she returned to Motorola’s offices and downloaded numerous additional technical documents.

Jin was later recorded leaving a Motorola building with what appeared to be a laptop computer bag.

As she attempted to depart on Feb. 28, 2007, from O’Hare bound for China, authorities seized numerous materials, some of which were marked confidential and proprietary belonging to Motorola.

Some of the documents provided a detailed description of how Motorola provides a specific communication feature that Motorola incorporates into its telecommunications products sold throughout the world.

At the same time, authorities recovered multiple classified Chinese military documents written in the Chinese language that described certain telecommunication projects for the Chinese military.

Many of these documents were marked “secret” by the Chinese military.

Authorities also recovered approximately $30,000 in U.S. currency that was in six different envelopes, each containing $5,000, all in hundred dollar bills.

The Government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Dollear, Sharon Fairley, and Christopher Stetler.

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