New York - Xiaoqing Zheng, 55, of Niskayuna, New York, was arrested Wednesday in connection with a criminal complaint charging him with stealing trade secrets belonging to General Electric (GE).
The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith for the Northern District of New York, and, Acting Special Agent in Charge Charles Margiotta of the FBI’s Albany Division.
The criminal complaint alleges that on or about July 5, Zheng, an engineer employed by General Electric, used an elaborate and sophisticated means to remove electronic files containing GE’s trade secrets involving its turbine technologies. Specifically, Zheng is alleged to have used steganography to hide data files belonging to GE into an innocuous looking digital picture of a sunset, and then to have e-mailed the digital picture, which contained the stolen GE data files, to Zheng’s e-mail account.
The defendant appeared today in federal court in Albany, New York, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel and was ordered detained without bail pending a hearing scheduled for August 2, at 1:30 p.m.
The charge filed against Zheng carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The charge in the complaint is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Belliss of the Northern District of New York, and Trial Attorneys Jason McCullough and Matt Chang of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.