Former Motorola worker gets 4 years for trade secrets theft

CHICAGO Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:44pm EDT

Signage for Motorola is displayed outside their office building in Tempe, Arizona October 29, 2009. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

Signage for Motorola is displayed outside their office building in Tempe, Arizona October 29, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - A Chinese-born software engineer convicted of stealing trade secrets from Motorola was sentenced on Wednesday to four years in federal prison, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney in Chicago.

Hanjuan Jin, a 41-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested in 2007 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as she prepared to board a flight to China with a one-way ticket and more than a thousand Motorola documents in her possession.

As they built their case against Jin, prosecutors alleged she was a part of a much broader Chinese-run industrial spying effort that posed a threat to the country's economic prosperity.

They alleged that Jin, who worked for Motorola for nine years, intended to share the information with Sun Kaisens, a Chinese telecommunications company and supplier to the Chinese military that Jin worked for on the side.

Earlier this year, Jin was found guilty of stealing trade secrets from Motorola but cleared of engaging in economic espionage for China.

In handing down the sentence on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo said Jin had conducted a "purposeful raid to steal technology." He fined her $20,000 and ordered her to remain on home confinement with electronic monitoring until her sentence begins in late October.

Jin faced a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

Gary S. Shapiro, acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, called the case proof that U.S. officials "will do everything we can to guard our economic and national security from the theft of American trade secrets."

Reaction to the sentencing came from Motorola Solutions (MSI.N), one of two companies that Motorola Inc split into in 2011.

Nick Sweers, a spokesman for the company, said "Motorola Solutions appreciates the significant efforts the government devoted to investigating and prosecuting this case."

(Editing by Greg McCune and Carol Bishopric)

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