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Friday, August 8, 2008
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

New Orleans Man Sentenced to More Than 15 Years in Prison for Espionage Involving China

WASHINGTON -- Tai Shen Kuo, age 58, of New Orleans, Louisiana, was sentenced today in the Eastern District of Virginia to 188 months in prison and required to forfeit $40,000 for conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government, namely, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in violation of 18 U.S.C., Section 794(a), (c). Kuo pleaded guilty to this offense on May 13, 2008, after being arrested on February 11, 2008.

Patrick Rowan, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security; U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg of the Eastern District of Virginia; and Arthur M. Cummings, II, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema imposed the sentence.

According to a Statement of Facts filed in Court with Kuo’s Plea Agreement, the criminal conduct spanned the time period of March 2007 to February 2008. During this time, Kuo, a naturalized U.S. citizen, obtained national defense information from Gregg W. Bergersen – a Weapons Systems Policy Analyst at the Arlington, Va.-based Defense Security Cooperation Agency, an agency within the Department of Defense – on several occasions. The information pertained primarily to U.S. military sales to Taiwan and U.S. military communications security and was classified at the Secret level.

During the course of the conspiracy, Kuo cultivated a friendship with Bergersen, bestowing on him gifts, cash payments, dinners, and trips to such places as Las Vegas. Kuo also led Bergersen to believe that he would make Bergersen a part owner or an employee of a company selling U.S. defense technology to Taiwan after Bergersen’s retirement from government service.

Unbeknownst to Bergersen, Kuo passed along to an official of the government of the PRC the documents and information Bergersen had provided him. The PRC official directed Kuo to collect specific documents and information and paid him approximately $50,000.00 for completing those tasks.

On July 11, 2008, Bergersen was sentenced to 57 months in prison and three years supervised release after pleading guilty on March 31, 2008 to conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(d), (g).

On August 1, 2008, Yu Xin Kang, a co-conspirator in the case, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for aiding and abetting an unregistered agent of a foreign government, namely the PRC. Kang pleaded guilty to this offense on May 28, 2008.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) provided substantial assistance and cooperation throughout the course of the investigation.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil Hammerstrom and Aaron Zebley from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Trial Attorney Ryan Fayhee from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.