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The Justice Department Charges Two Chinese Citizens With Cyber-Espionage and Theft of Trade Secrets

The Justice Department Charges Two Chinese Citizens With Cyber-Espionage and Theft of Trade Secrets

Justice Dept. Charges 2 Chinese Citizens With Spying for Huawei

The United States Justice Department charged two Chinese citizens today in a case that could affect the cybersecurity of an entire class of high-end cellular devices.

The investigation follows a complaint made by the U.S. government, charging the two individuals with cyber-espionage and theft of trade secrets.

The Justice Department says the two individuals breached a U.S.-based company’s computers in order to steal sensitive data. In addition, it alleges that they tried to recruit an employee of the company’s U.S. subsidiary to steal company secrets in furtherance of their espionage efforts.

The charges include espionage and theft of trade secrets, which are both felonies under U.S. criminal law punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The case follows President Donald Trump’s call earlier this year for companies to boycott Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications companies.

The Justice Department today also charged six other individuals in a new case that could result in a lengthy prison sentence. The charges brought against those six individuals include hacking, wire fraud, and the use of confidential information to commit wire fraud. Those charges carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The cases were brought under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Espionage Act, both of which provide the authorities with a broad range of legal tools to investigate and prosecute cyber-espionage and theft overseas.

“The Department of Justice is committed to investigating and prosecuting individuals who illegally penetrate computers and steal trade secrets from U.S. companies so that they can make money off those trade secrets,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers. “Today’s charges, which were the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, hold executives and employees of a company in Washington, D.C., accountable for actions they took against a company in China.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Principal Deputy Director Scott Bullington, who has been leading the Office of International Affairs at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia since September 2018.

The charges described in the complaint against Mr. Ye and Ms. Chen were referred to the department’s International Affairs

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