A Chinese businessman residing in Hong Kong has been charged for conspiring to steal important trade secrets from General Electric (GE) for his own startup.
Chi Lung Winsman Ng, 64, was indicted on Feb. 27.
“Winsman Ng and his co-conspirators allegedly chose to steal what they lacked the time, talent or money to create,” said John Demers of the Justice Department’s National Security Division said. “Theft of American intellectual property for the benefit of foreign firms deprives American companies of the fruits of their creativity and American workers of their jobs. The Department will do all it can to disrupt this illegal and economically destructive conduct.”
The intellectual property targeted by Ng and at least one other conspirator concerned silicon carbide MOSFETs—small switches that adjust electricity flow through devices—a technology worth millions.
“As alleged in the indictment, Winsman Ng conspired to steal trade secrets from General Electric to start a competitor,” said Elizabeth Coombe, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York. “This scheme, and others like it, seek to undermine American ingenuity, which often depends on maintaining the secrecy of technological advances. We will continue to work with the FBI to hold accountable those trying to steal trade secrets from innovative companies in our district.”
Ng and his conspirators are accused of attempting to develop a business to make and sell GE’s MOSFET devices between March 2017 and January 2018.
The DOJ didn’t obtain evidence indicating a successful transfer of the MOSFET technology to Chinese companies.
“According to the indictment, Mr. Ng conspired to steal valuable and sensitive technology from GE and produce it in China,” FBI special agent in charge Thomas Relford said.
“Our office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and GE coordinated closely and worked quickly to prevent that theft and the resulting damage to our economic security. Theft of trade secrets is a constant and dangerous threat to our American companies and the remarkable work they do to invent and manufacture unique technology that can change the world. FBI Albany’s Counterintelligence Task Force remains committed to protecting American innovation and technology, American security and American jobs.”
Ng hasn’t yet been taken into custody. If he’s found guilty, he’ll face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.