A Chinese-born engineer was convicted Thursday of stealing trade secrets critical to the U.S. space program in the nation’s first economic espionage trial.
A federal judge found former Boeing Co. engineer Dongfan “Greg” Chung guilty of six counts of economic espionage and other charges for hoarding 300,000 pages of sensitive documents in his home, including information about the U.S. space shuttle and a booster rocket.
“The trust Boeing placed in Mr. Chung to safeguard its proprietary and trade secret information obviously meant very little to Mr. Chung,” U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney wrote in his 31-page ruling. “He cast it aside to serve the PRC (People’s Republic of China), which he proudly proclaimed as his `motherland.'”
Federal prosecutors accused the 73-year-old stress analyst of using his 30-year career at Boeing and Rockwell International to steal the documents. They said investigators found papers stacked throughout Chung’s house that included sensitive information about a fueling system for a booster rocket — documents that Boeing employees were ordered to lock away at the close of work each day. They said Boeing invested $50 million in the technology over a five-year period.