U.S. Justice Department indicts a Chinese businessman for stealing trade secrets from General Electric

Chi Lung Winsman Ng, 64, a Chinese businessman living in Hong Kong, was indicted on Feb. 25, according to a Feb. 26 statement from the U.S. Department of Justice. He is alleged to have conspired to steal semiconductor technology and trade secrets from General Electric between 2017 and 2018.

John C. Demers, assistant secretary for national security at the U.S. Department of Justice, said, “Ng and his co-conspirators allegedly chose to steal what they lacked the Time, talent or money to create. Stealing American intellectual property for the benefit of foreign companies deprives American companies of the fruits of their creativity and American workers of their jobs. The Justice Department will do everything in its power to disrupt this illegal, economically destructive behavior.”

The prosecution’s indictment alleges that between approximately March 2017 and January 2018, Wu and at least one co-conspirator planned to develop a business to manufacture and sell silicon carbide MOSFETs using trade secrets stolen from General Electric.It is understood that silicon carbide MOSFETs, or silicon carbide metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors, are small electronic semiconductors/switches that regulate the the flow of electricity in devices and is used in a variety of products.

The indictment alleges that Wu conspired with at least one other person, an engineer who had worked for General Electric for more than seven years. They are accused of conspiring to steal trade secrets and other proprietary information about the company’s silicon carbide MOSFETs. Wu and co-conspirator #1 used these trade secrets to develop a business plan and create a PowerPoint presentation that they gave to potential investors. The duo represented to the potential investors that their business could be profitable within three years and valued that it would have tangible and intangible assets worth $100 million.

As part of the plan, the duo sought about $30 million in capital investment in exchange for an ownership stake in their startup. In August 2017, Wu and co-defendant #1 allegedly met in China and made a presentation to a Chinese investment firm considering funding their startup. “We have no evidence of an illegal transfer of MOSFET technology to any Chinese company, including the company Wu and his co-conspirators sought to establish,” the U.S. Department of Justice said. Wu has not yet been arrested by the U.S. side. If convicted of this charge, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.