A Chinese engineer who pleaded guilty to stealing Ford’s trade secrets has been sentenced to 70 months in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Detroit. Xiang Dong Yu, also known as Mike Yu, of Beijing, was also ordered to pay a $12,500 fine.
Yu, who had permanent resident status in the U.S., was found guilty of two counts of theft of trade secrets. As soon as his sentence is completed, he will be deported.
In October 2009, 49-year-old Yu was arrested as soon as he arrived at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport from China because of charges that he stole 4,000 secret documents of Ford designs that are valued at millions of dollars. Yu worked at Ford as a service engineer from 1997 until early 2007.
The U.S. Attorney's office said that in December 2006, he accepted a job at the Chinese division of a U.S. company.
Before he informed Ford about his decision to switch jobs, he copied the documents to an external hard drive including sensitive Ford design documents about engine-transmission and electric power supply systems. On Jan. 2, 2007, Yu sent an e-mail to Ford from China to say that he was leaving. It was later learned that he had joined Chinese automaker Beijing Automotive Industry Corp.