A Chinese-born scientist formerly employed by a research firm in the midwestern U.S. state of Indiana has pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets and sending them illegally to China and Germany.
Kexue Huang pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of economic espionage and one count of theft of trade secrets in a district court in Indiana.
The 48-year-old scientist was indicted in July of last year on charges of stealing trade secrets and other confidential information while working for Dow AgroScience between 2003 and 2008. A separate case filed in the state of Minnesota was unsealed Tuesday, charging Huang with stealing a trade secret from food producer Cargill between 2008 and 2009.
According to court documents, he transferred and delivered the stolen trade secrets to individuals in Germany and China between 2007 and 2010.
The combined loss from Huang’s criminal activity is reported to be between $7 million and $20 million.
If convicted, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years on the economic espionage charge and 10 years on the theft of trade secrets charge.