A former Ford Motor Co. product engineer, Xiang Dong Yu, was arrested for allegedly stealing trade secrets after it had accepted a job in China in 2006. The arrest was made at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago soon after he landed from a plane that had come from China.
According to a statement from Terrence Berg, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, a federal indictment charges Yu with theft of trade secrets, attempted theft of trade secrets and unauthorized access to a protected computer. Yu, a Chinese national living in Beijing, worked at Ford from 1997 to 2007, says Automotive News.
However, it was in December 2006 that he accepted a job at the China branch of a US company. In a release, the Justice Department announced that the indictment, filed under court seal July 8, follows an FBI investigation.
The indictment claims that Yu copied 4,000 Ford documents, including sensitive design documents, onto an external hard drive after accepting his new job but before notifying Ford of his departure.
These documents included design specifications for engine and transmission mounting subsystems, electrical distribution systems and electrical subsystems. In addition, Yu reportedly attempted to use Ford documents to get a job with a Chinese auto company in 2005 and in 2008.