A former software engineer for Motorola was found guilty Wednesday of stealing trade secrets from the U.S. technology firm just before she tried to leave the country for China, the Justice Department said.
Hanjuan Jin, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in China, was acquitted however in a bench trial on charges of economic espionage.
Officials said Jin had more than 1,000 Motorola proprietary documents when she was stopped by U.S. customs officials as she attempted to travel on a one-way ticket to China in February 2007.
The 41-year-old woman was convicted on the theft charges in a bench trial by U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo who noted that she "criminally betrayed Motorola by stealing its trade secrets."
In a 77-page opinion, Castillo found her not guilty of three counts of economic espionage for the benefit of the China and its military.
She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each count of stealing trade secrets.
Jin was ordered to remain in home confinement with electronic monitoring pending sentencing, which was scheduled for April 18.
She worked for the division of Motorola now known as Motorola Solutions, which makes software, network and RFID (radio frequency identification) equipment.
"The verdict establishes that Jin stole valuable trade secrets from an American company, and we will do everything we can to guard our economic and national security from the theft of American trade secrets," said US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
According to evidence at trial, Jin began working for Motorola in 1998, and during a medical leave of absence in 2006 contacted Sun Kaisens, a Chinese telecommunications company that developed products for the Chinese military.
Prosecutors said that between November 2006 and February 2007, Jin returned to China and did work for Sun Kaisens on projects for the Chinese military. In early 2007, she told Motorola that she was ready to end her medical leave and return to work but at the same time purchased a one-way ticket to China.
Two days before her flight was to leave, Jin returned to Motorola, purportedly to resume full-time work, and copied more than 200 technical documents from the company's secure internal computer network.
Authorities arrested her at O'Hare International Airport as she attempted to leave for China, and found her carrying a number of documents from Motorola as well as classified Chinese military documents.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012