Chinese National Pleads Guilty to Stealing Trade Secrets from Oklahoma Company
Several agencies were involved in this case that could have cost American companies billions of dollars.
It looks like Chinese national and Oklahoma resident Hongjin Tan plead guilty this week. He was charged with theft of a trade secret, unauthorized transmission of a trade secret, and unauthorized possession of a trade secret. It looks like Tan stole information from Phillips 66 on next-generation battery technologies for stationary energy storage.
The technology the company is working on is worth over a billion dollars they say. So obviously selling this to a foreign competitor would mean a lot of American dollars going away. In his plea agreement, Tan admitted to intentionally copying and downloading research and development materials without authorization.
On December 11, 2018 he had a thumb drive that he used to copy hundreds of files. He subsequently turned in his resignation and was escorted from the premises on Dec. 12, 2018. Later that day, he returned the thumb drive, claiming that he had forgotten to do so before leaving. Five files had been deleted from the thumb drive. The FBI later found those files on an external hard drive Tan had.
Hongjin Tan will be sentenced in February of next year.