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Ex-GM worker, husband accused of stealing hybrid secrets


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Ex-GM worker, husband accused of stealing hybrid secrets

By ED WHITE

Associated Press

A federal grand jury in Detroit has indicted a former General Motors employee and her husband in an alleged scheme to steal information about hybrid vehicles.

Shanshan Du is accused of copying thousands of GM documents in January 2005, five days after getting a severance offer from the automaker. The government says the conspiracy began in 2003.

The government says her husband, Yu Qin (Kin), subsequently made a deal to provide hybrid technology to a Chinese company.

Prosecutors say the Troy couple shredded documents and dumped them in a bin behind a store in May 2006 after the grand jury sought information.

Du and Qin will be in court Thursday. Qin's lawyer says he's surprised by the indictment. A message seeking comment was left with Du's attorney.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100722/BUSINESS0101/100722033/1014/business01?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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Report: Ex-GM worker accused of stealing hybrid secrets

by Jeremy Korzeniewski (RSS feed) on Jul 22nd 2010 at 4:29PM

It seems that the lure of stealing trade secrets from a former employer has struck again, this time involving General Motors. Ex-GM employee Shanshan Du and her husband Yu Qin have reportedly been indicted by a federal grand jury for their part in an alleged conspiracy to steal hybrid vehicle information from The General.

It seems that Du waited until five days after she received a severance package from the automaker before copying thousands of documents back in January of 2005 related to hybrid technology. In May of the following year, Du and her husband are said to have shredded the documents and dumped them in a bin behind a nearby store after the grand jury began its inquiry.

Between those two dates, it is alleged that Du's husband entered into an agreement with Chinese automaker Chery to provide hybrid technology from his company, Millennium Technology International. According to General Motors, the stolen data is worth about $40 million.

This is not the first time we've seen such cases. Late last year, Former Ford engineer Xiang Dong Yu was arrested and indicted on suspicion of stealing trade secrets from his former employer.

link:

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/07/22/report-ex-gm-worker-accused-of-stealing-hybrid-secrets/

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Couple accused of stealing GM hybrid info

BY DAVID ASHENFELTER

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

A Troy couple was arraigned in federal court today on charges of conspiring to steal GM’s hybrid vehicle secrets to sell to a Chinese car company.

Yu Qin, 49, and his wife, Shanshan Du, 51, stood mute in U.S. District Court to a six-count indictment charging them with unauthorized possession of trade secrets, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice.

Magistrate Mark Randon entered not guilty pleas on their behalf and released them on $10,000 unsecured bonds.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Du, while working for GM, passed hybrid secrets to her husband for use in their company, Millennium Technology International, Inc. Some of the information was passed by e-mail.

After GM offered Du a buyout in January 2005, she copied thousands of pages of GM documents to a Millennium Technology external computer hard drive, prosecutors said.

Afterward, Qin moved forward with a venture to provide hybrid technology to Chery Automobile, a GM competitor in China, prosecutors said.

In May 2006, the couple drove to a dumpster behind a grocery store where Qin tossed plastic bags containing shredded documents that a federal grand jury had subpoenaed, authorities said.

They said the stolen documents, valued at more than $40 million by GM, never fell into Chinese hands.

The couple are Chinese immigrants and naturalized U.S. citizens, authorities said.

Their lawyers wouldn’t comment on the substance of the charges.

Qin’s lawyer, Frank Eamon of Detroit, said he was surprised by the indictment, believing there would be no charges.

GM said it’s cooperating with authorities.

Wire fraud and obstruction of justice carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fines. Possession of trade secrets carries a maximum 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100722/BUSINESS0101/100722039/1210/BUSINESS01/Couple-accused-of-stealing-GM-hybrid-info

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Couple indicted in plot to sell GM hybrid secrets to Chinese

01:22 PM

This Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid is one of the four two-mode hybrids, all trucks, that General Motors currently offers.

CAPTION

By GM

UPDATE: 5:45 p.m. ET. Below is an update on the based on reporting by Drive On colleague David Ashenfelter at the the Detroit Free Press.

General Motors' lineup isn't loaded with gas-electric hybrids -- it currently offers its excellent two-mode system only in the Tahoe and Siverado and their GMC siblings -- but that allegedly didn't stop an outgoing employee from trying to make off with whatever secrets GM had and sell them to the Chinese.

Prosecutors said the stolen documents, which never fell into Chinese hands, were work over $40 million.

Arraigned in federal court today were Yu Qin, 49, and his wife, Shanshan Du, 51, from Troy, Mich. They stood mute in U.S. District Court as a 6-count indictment was read charging them with unauthorized possession of trade secrets, wire fraud, obstruction of justice.

U.S. Magistrate Mark Randon entered not guilty pleas on their behalf and released them on $10,000 unsecured bonds, which is common in white-collar criminal cases. The U.S. Attorney's Office said that about five days after GM offered Du a buyout in January 2005, she copied thousands of pages of GM documents to an external hard drive and passed it to her husband. A few months later, he moved with a venture to provide hybrid technology to Chery Automobile, a GM competitor based in China, prosecutors alleged.

In May 2006, the couple drove to a Dumpster behind a grocery store, where Qin got rid of plastic bags containing shredded documents that had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury, prosecutors said.

The couple are Chinese immigrants and naturalized U.S. citizens, authorities said. Qin's lawyer, Frank Eamon of Detroit, said the couple was shocked by the indictment.

"We're completely surprised by this indictment," Eamon said, adding that he has represented Qin for more than five years. "We thought the investigation was over."

GM said it's cooperating with the government but wouldn't elaborate.

Wire fraud and obstruction of justice, carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fines. Possession of trade secrets carries a maximum penalty of 10 year in prison and a $250,000 fine.

link:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/07/couple-indicted-in-plot-to-sell-gm-hybrid-secrets-to-chinese/1

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Couple accused in GM tech theft

Conspiracy to sell GM's secrets alleged

BY DAVID ASHENFELTER

FREE PRESS STAFF WRIT

A Troy couple was arraigned in federal court Thursday on charges of conspiring to steal GM's hybrid vehicle secrets to sell to a Chinese car company.

Yu Qin, 49, and his wife, Shanshan Du, 51, stood mute in U.S. District Court to a six-count indictment charging them with unauthorized possession of trade secrets, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

Magistrate Mark Randon entered not-guilty pleas on their behalf and released them on $10,000 bonds.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Du, while working for GM, passed hybrid secrets to her husband for use in their company, Millennium Technology International, some by e-mail.

After GM offered Du a buyout in January 2005, she copied thousands of pages of GM documents to a Millennium Technology external computer hard drive, prosecutors said. Afterward, Qin moved forward with a venture to provide hybrid technology to Chery Automobile, a GM competitor in China, prosecutors said.

In May 2006, the couple drove to a Dumpster behind a grocery store where Qin tossed plastic bags containing shredded documents that a federal grand jury had subpoenaed, authorities said.

They said the stolen documents, valued at more than $40 million by GM, never fell into Chinese hands. The couple are Chinese immigrants and naturalized U.S. citizens, authorities said.

Their lawyers wouldn't comment on the substance of the charges. Qin's lawyer, Frank Eamon of Detroit, said he was surprised by the indictment, believing there would be no charges. GM said it's cooperating with authorities.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100723/BUSINESS01/7230375/1331/BUSINESS01/Couple-accused-in-GM-tech-theft

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Ex-GM engineer, husband accused of stealing secrets

Louis Aguilar, Christine Tierney and Doug Guthrie / The Detroit News

Detroit -- A former General Motors Co. engineer and her husband were accused Thursday of trying to steal GM trade secrets to sell to a Chinese company in a case bound to heighten concerns about Chinese intellectual property theft.

Shanshan Du, 51, and her husband, Yu Qin, 49, were charged in federal court with conspiring to steal more than $40 million worth of GM hybrid technology trade secrets that they intended to provide to China's Chery Automobile.

The thousands of pages of documents and materials that Du allegedly stole over two years never got to Chery, according to the indictment.

The case comes less than a year after a former Ford Motor Co. product engineer from Beijing, Xiang Dong Yu, was indicted on charges that he stole trade secrets he was allegedly peddling to Chinese firms.

"Theft of trade secrets is a threat to national security," Andrew Arena, head of the FBI in Detroit, said in a statement.

The cases are likely to reinforce a sentiment in the auto industry that there has been little progress in slowing the theft of intellectual property that ends up in China.

"It's a continuing problem, more with China than with any other country," said Jim Hossack, an analyst at AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, Calif. "Their intellectual property expectations are different from ours. It's a bit like the Wild West."

Du and her husband, who live in Troy, stood mute in the federal courtroom here before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Randon on conspiracy and other charges, including wire fraud. They looked very much the suburban couple, Qin in gray khakis and sneakers, Du in a white lacy skirt and light brown suede loafers. Their ankles were handcuffed. In court, Qin said he was a U.S. citizen. Du wasn't asked about her citizenship.

Judge Randon set unsecured bond for each at $10,000 and ordered them not to leave the tri-county area. The couple asked permission to travel briefly out of state next month to accompany their son, who is starting college.

The pair conspired to steal GM trade secrets from December 2003 to May 2006, according to the indictment. Du, who worked at GM as an engineer from 2000 to 2005, is accused of stealing GM secrets pertaining to motor control technology for gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. She shared the data with Qin, also an engineer, who attempted to provide the technology to Chery, according to the indictment.

GM has previously tangled with Chery, a state-owned carmaker that produced a QQ minicar in 2002 that looked like a copy of the Chevrolet Spark. GM's Daewoo unit in South Korea developed the Spark for China and other markets.

"We cooperated with the authorities in developing the case, and we'll continue to cooperate," said GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson. He declined to elaborate.

Du and Qin had been under investigation for years and were charged in 2006 with destroying documents, but that case was dropped while a broader probe was ongoing.

From 2003 to 2005, Du worked in GM's Advance Technology Vehicle Group in Troy. By summer 2005, Qin, who at the time worked at Troy-based electrical systems and equipment maker Controlled Power Co., was telling people he had a deal to provide hybrid technology to Chery. The couple had set up their own company, Millennium Technology International, MTI, in 2000. Its aim was to set up joint ventures of hybrid technology with Chinese firms.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cathleen Corken said GM was notified of the alleged theft by Qin's employer, which discovered a portable hard drive containing GM documents. GM called the FBI in 2006. The indictment contains details of e-mail exchanges offering GM data and plans.

The indictment was "a surprise to us," Qin's attorney, Frank Eaman, said. "This investigation has been going on so long I figured if they had a basis, they would have charged them a long time ago."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100723/AUTO01/7230350/1148/auto01/Ex-GM-engineer--husband-accused-of-stealing-secrets#ixzz0uVc3A97m

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