Chinese Businessman Charged With Conspiring To Steal Trade Secrets
WASHINGTON – Chi Lung Winsman Ng, aka Winsman Ng, 64, a Chinese businessman residing in Hong Kong, was indicted yesterday for conspiring to steal General Electric’s (GE) trade secrets involving the company’s silicon carbide MOSFET technology worth millions of dollars.
“Winsman Ng and his co-conspirators allegedly chose to steal what they lacked the time, talent or money to create,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “Theft of American intellectual property for the benefit of foreign firms deprives American companies of the fruits of their creativity and American workers of their jobs. The Department will do all it can to disrupt this illegal and economically destructive conduct.”
“As alleged in the indictment, Winsman Ng conspired to steal trade secrets from General Electric to start a competitor,” said Attorney for the United States, Elizabeth C. Coombe, for the Northern District of New York, Acting Under Authority Conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 515. “This scheme, and others like it, seek to undermine American ingenuity, which often depends on maintaining the secrecy of technological advances. We will continue to work with the FBI to hold accountable those trying to steal trade secrets from innovative companies in our district.”
“Innovation by American companies brings good things into our lives, but we shouldn’t have to buy those good things from a foreign company that stole American technology to compete against us,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “The FBI urges any U.S. business to contact us if they suspect someone, regardless of nationality, is attempting to steal or has stolen trade secrets. Only through robust engagement with U.S. businesses can we protect our economic and national security.”
“According to the indictment, Mr. Ng conspired to steal valuable and sensitive technology from GE and produce it in China,” said Special Agent in Charge Thomas F. Relford of the FBI’s Albany Field Office. “Our office, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and GE coordinated closely and worked quickly to prevent that theft and the resulting damage to our economic security. Theft of trade secrets is a constant and dangerous threat to our American companies and the remarkable work they do to invent and manufacture unique technology that can change the world. FBI Albany's Counterintelligence Task Force remains committed to protecting American innovation and technology, American security and American jobs.”
The charge in the indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The indictment alleges that between about March 2017 and January 2018, Ng and at least one co-conspirator plotted to develop a business that would manufacture and sell silicon carbide MOSFETs using trade secrets stolen from GE. MOSFETs, or silicon carbide metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors, are small electronic semiconductors/switches that regulate the flow of electricity through devices and are used in a variety of products.
Ng conspired with at least one other person, a GE engineer of more than seven years, to steal MOSFET trade secrets and other proprietary information from GE. Ng and co-conspirator #1 allegedly used those trade secrets to create a business plan and develop PowerPoint presentations which they gave to prospective investors. Ng and co-conspirator #1 told potential investors that their business could be profitable within three years and that their start-up business possessed assets – tangible and intangible – they estimated to be worth $100 million. As part of the scheme, they sought approximately $30 million in funding in exchange for an ownership stake in their start-up company. In August 2017, Ng and co-conspirator #1 allegedly met in China and gave presentations to a Chinese investment company that was considering providing funding to Ng’s start-up company.
We have no evidence that there was an illegal MOSFET technology transfer to any Chinese companies, including the company that Ng and his co-conspirator were trying to start.
Ng has yet to be arrested. If convicted of this offense, Ng faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case is being investigated by the FBI Albany Field Office, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Belliss and Trial Attorney Matthew Chang of the National Security Division, Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.