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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Chinese National Arrested for Conspiring to Illegally Export U.S. Origin Goods Used in Anti-Submarine Warfare to China

Defendant allegedly illegally exported devices used to detect and monitor sound underwater

BOSTON – A Chinese national was arrested today and charged in connection with violating export laws by conspiring with employees of an entity affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to illegally export U.S. origin goods to China, as well as making false statements to obtain a visa to enter the United States and to become a lawful permanent resident under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program.

Shuren Qin, 41, a Chinese national residing in Wellesley, Mass., was charged in a criminal complaint with one count of visa fraud and one count of conspiring to commit violations of U.S. export regulations. Qin was arrested today and will appear in federal court in Boston on June 22, 2018.

According to charging documents, Qin was born in the People’s Republic of China and became a lawful permanent resident of the United States in 2014. Qin operates several companies in China, which purport to import U.S. and European goods with applications in underwater or marine technologies into China.  It is alleged that Qin was in communication with and/or receiving taskings from entities affiliated with the PLA, including the Northwestern Polytechnical University (NWPU), a Chinese military research institute, to obtain items used for anti-submarine warfare.

In 2001, the Department of Commerce designated NWPU on its Entity List because of the national security risks it poses to the U.S. NWPU has worked closely with the PLA on the advancement of its military capabilities. From at least July 2015 to December 2016, Qin allegedly exported approximately 78 hydrophones (devices used to detect and monitor sound underwater) from the United States to NWPU without obtaining the required export licenses from the Department of Commerce, in violation of U.S. export laws. Qin did so by concealing from the U.S. supplier that NWPU was the end-user and causing false information to be filed with the United States Government.

As alleged in court documents, in 2014, Qin made false statements on his visa application. Specifically, he falsely certified that he had never “engaged in export control violations or other unlawful activity.”  However, it is alleged that Qin engaged in numerous violations of U.S. export laws since 2012. In his petition to become a legal permanent resident of the U.S., Qin again falsely certified that he had never committed any crime. Furthermore, during a November 2017, interview with Customs and Board Patrol Officers, Qin stated that he “only” exported instruments that attach to a buoy. However, Qin had allegedly exported remotely-operated side scan sonar systems, unmanned underwater vehicles, unmanned surface vehicles, robotic boats, and hydrophones. These items have military applications and can be used for weapon delivery systems, anti-submarine warfare, mine counter-measures as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities.

The charge of conspiring to violate U.S. export laws provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. The charge of visa fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew Lelling; Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of the Homeland Security Investigation, Boston Field Office; Leigh Alistair-Barzey, Special Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office; William Higgins, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, Boston Field Office; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Leo Lamont, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney B. Stephanie Siegmann, Chief of Lelling’s National Security Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations.  The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Counterintelligence and Export Control
Component(s): 
Updated June 21, 2018