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Beryl Lieff Benderly

Scientist Receives 4-Year Sentence for Theft of Trade Secrets

A naturalized American citizen born in China who earned a master’s degree in physics at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and worked for nearly a decade at Motorola, today received a 4-year prison sentence and a fine of $20,000 for what a judge in Chicago called a “very serious raid” on the company’s trade secrets, the Associated Press reports. 

A random security check at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport led to officials finding that Hanjuan Jin was attempting to board a flight to China carrying 1000 confidential company documents and $31,000 in cash. In addition, she had with her confidential materials from the Chinese military and it was discovered that she was also an employee of a Chinese company that does development work for China’s military. Though convicted of stealing trade secrets, she was not convicted of the more serious charge of committing economic espionage to help the Chinese military. The judge ruled that the evidence for that charge was insufficient.