Chinese-Canadian Sentenced for Stealing Chemical Production Trade Secrets From American Firm
A Chinese-Canadian who pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets from American chemicals company Chemours has been sentenced and deported to Canada.
On June 27, a Delaware federal court sentenced Jerry Jindong Xu to 10 months imprisonment, which he had already served while held in detention.
U.S. marshals led Xu out of the courtroom and onto a flight bound for Canada at the Philadelphia International Airport, according to a report by the Delaware News Journal.
Xu, 48, is a naturalized Canadian citizen who was born and raised in China. He is now barred from ever entering the United States again.
Court documents revealed that Xu, while employed at the Delaware-based Chemours between 2015 and 2016, conspired to steal dozens of confidential files containing proprietary information on how to produce sodium cyanide, an industrial chemical often used in gold and silver mining. The chemical is used to extract precious metals from ore.
Xu stole documents, photographs, and diagrams pertaining to sodium cyanide production plants, with the intention of establishing his own company, called Xtrachemical, that would solicit investors in China to help build a sodium cyanide plant in Canada.
In May 2016, he even requested a personal tour of the Chemours sodium cyanide plant in Memphis, Tennessee, secretly taking photos of system diagrams.
Xu also conspired to help export Chinese manufactured sodium cyanide products, using his company Xtrachemical to facilitate discussions with Chinese businesses.
“This type of intellectual property theft, including in relation to China, has a substantial negative impact on our economy,” Chief Judge Leonard P. Stark told the court on June 27, according to the Journal.
Stark added that Xu plotted against his former employer in a “calculated, intentional, and sophisticated manner,” the Journal reported.
Before Chemours spun off from chemical company DuPont to become a separate independent company in 2015, Xu was a DuPont employee at a company facility in China between 2004 and 2011. Xu was part of the Chemical Solutions Division, where he marketed DuPont’s cyanide-based products to Chinese industrial firms.
It was then that he “cultivated extensive ties to officials in the country’s cyanide and mining industry,” according to the Journal, citing prosecutors.
In 2011, Xu moved to North America for his work at DuPont and subsequently became a Chemours employee in 2015. Xu acted with an unnamed co-conspirator who was also a longtime DuPont employee.
Xu was fired from his job a month after his tour of the Memphis production plant. At the time, he insisted to Chemours higherups that he had not stolen trade secrets from the company. However, in August 2016, he emailed an unnamed individual saying that the “liquid cyanide project is still moving forward,” according to the court indictment.
Federal authorities were able to thwart Xu’s plan before he could execute it. Xu had not transferred the stolen information to anyone before his arrest in August 2017, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie McCall.