Chinese National Sentenced For Illegally Exporting Military Electronics Components
BOSTON - Zhen Zhou Wu, a Chinese national, was re-sentenced yesterday to 84 months in prison for conspiring over a 10-year-period to illegally export military and sophisticated electronics to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Wu was also convicted of illegally exporting sensitive electronic components to the PRC on 12 occasions between 2004 and 2007. Several Chinese military entities were among those to whom the defendant exported the equipment, which is used in military phased array radar, electronic warfare, and missile systems. He was also ordered to pay a $15,000 fine. After serving his sentence Wu will be subject to deportation to the PRC.
On March 19, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed Wu’s conviction on 15 of the 17 counts of export violations for which a jury convicted him after a six-week trial in 2010. The First Circuit vacated two counts of conviction that charged Wu with illegally exporting parts designated on the United States Munitions List because it held that the jury instructions given were constitutionally inadequate. However, the First Circuit observed that “from 1996 until 2008, Wu and his co-defendant, Yufeng Wei, shipped tens of millions of dollars worth of sophisticated electronic components from the United States to China, with little regard for whether the parts that they sold were export-controlled.” Further, the First Circuit found that Wu’s company “specifically pursued military customers; and Wu promoted himself as both an exporter of military supplies and an export compliance expert.” Lastly, the First Circuit determined that “Wu and Wei repeatedly attempted to disguise the fact that they were exporting to China and that they lacked the necessary licenses to do so.”
Because two counts of the conviction were vacated, the case was remanded for a re-sentencing hearing. Wei’s re-sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
On May 17, 2010, Wu, his ex-wife, Wei, and his company, Chitron Electronics, Inc. were convicted of conspiring to unlawfully export to the PRC military electronics from 1997 to 2007 and export restricted electronics components and illegally exporting such parts to the PRC on numerous occasions between 2004 and 2007. The defendants’ illegal enterprise involved the use of Chitron Electronics, Inc., a company Wu established in Waltham, Mass., as a front company for its parent company, Chitron Electronics Limited, headquartered in Shenzhen, PRC. Wu used Chitron-US to procure export restricted equipment from US suppliers and then export the goods to from Waltham to China, through Hong Kong without the suppliers’ knowledge. The exported equipment is used in electronic warfare, military radar, fire control, military guidance and control equipment, missile systems, and satellite communications. Many of Chitron’s customers were Chinese military research institutes and military entities responsible for procuring, developing, and manufacturing electronic components for China’s Army, Navy and Air Force.
The Department of Defense’s Defense Technology Security Administration concluded in a report filed with the Court that the defendants’ activities in this case seriously threatened “U.S. national and regional security interests.” According to the Department of Defense, the parts the defendants were convicted of illegally exporting are “vital for Chinese military electronic warfare, military radar, fire control, military guidance and control equipment, and satellite communications.” The report further concluded that the illegally exported parts are “precisely the [types of] items ... that the People’s Liberation Army actively seeks to acquire.”
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin of the Justice Department’s National Security Division; John J. McKenna, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, Boston Field Office; Bruce Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston: Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Office; and Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Resident Agent in Charge of Defense Criminal Investigative Service in Boston made the announcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and John A. Capin of Ortiz’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.