Dual Canadian/Chinese Citizen Arrested for Attempting to Steal Trade Secrets and Computer Information
Defendant allegedly tried to steal next-generation robotics technology
BOSTON – A dual citizen of Canada and China was arrested and charged today in connection with attempting to steal trade secrets and computer information from a Raynham-based medical technology company.
Dong Liu, a/k/a Kevin, 44, was charged in a criminal complaint with one count of attempted theft of trade secrets and one count of attempted access to a computer without authorization and in excess of authorized access with the intent to obtain information from a protected computer. Liu was detained following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston this afternoon.
According to the charging documents, Medrobotics Corporation, which is headquartered in Raynham, Mass., manufactures and markets a unique robot-assisted device that provides surgeons with access to, and visualization of, hard-to-reach places in the human body for minimally invasive surgery. The company has invested millions of dollars in next-generation robotics technology that is not yet patented.
It is alleged that around 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2017, Medrobotics’ CEO spotted a man, later identified as Liu, sitting in a conference room inside the company’s secured space with what appeared to be three open laptop computers. He was not a company employee or contractor, so the CEO asked Liu whom he was there to visit. Liu named one company employee whom the CEO knew was out of the country for a few weeks; Liu then identified another employee whom the CEO knew had not scheduled such a meeting; Liu then named the CEO himself, which the CEO knew was not to be true.
Liu allegedly claimed to be working with a Chinese patent law firm. He showed the CEO his LinkedIn biography, in which Liu claimed to lead his firm’s intellectual property practice in medical devices, among other things. When police responded to the CEO’s call and talked with Liu, Liu gave conflicting explanations about how he had entered the building. A check of Medrobotics’ visitor log book revealed that neither Liu nor any other visitor had signed into the building that day, despite a company policy that requires visitors to log in.
According to charging documents, Liu told the CEO that he had entered Medrobotics just before 5:00 p.m. Further investigation revealed that Liu had been seen in the company’s lobby taking a video of a monitor displaying public corporate information around 5:00 p.m. and again around 6:00, well before he was discovered in the conference room. The investigation also revealed that Liu had been contacting Medrobotics employees via LinkedIn.
When Liu was arrested by the local police for trespassing, he possessed two laptop computers, an iPad, two portable hard drives, 10 cellphone SIM cards, two digital camcorders, at least two flash drives, and other data equipment. Some of these types of equipment can be used to obtain data from computer networks and to video record otherwise-secret physical documents and products. Further investigation will be required to reveal whether Liu’s attempts to obtain computer information or trade secrets were successful.
The charge of attempted theft of trade secrets provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000, or twice the financial gain or loss, restitution, and forfeiture. The charge of attempted access to a computer to obtain information unlawfully provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000, or twice the financial gain or loss, restitution, and forfeiture. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Raynham Police Chief James W. Donovan; and Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn made the announcement today. Medrobotics cooperated with authorities during the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott L. Garland of Weinreb’s National Security Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.