A Chinese aerospace engineer, Dongfan “Greg” Chung, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Monday in Santa Ana, California.
He was convicted of espionage for providing advanced rocket technology and trade secrets to the Chinese regime over the past 30 years.
The 73-year-old Chung worked for Rockwell International, which later became part of Boeing. He had started gathering information from the company in the late 1970s—shortly after he became a U.S. citizen. It’s not clear what his motives were, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Staples says Chung amassed 3 million dollars during that period.
Chung denied the charges, saying he was gathering the information for a book.
The prosecutors found out about Chung’s activities as they were investigating another Chinese suspect, Chi Mak, who a few years ago got 24 years in prison for giving sensitive U.S. military information to the Chinese regime.
Chung’s case is the first trial under the Economic Espionage Act. The act was passed in 1996 when the U.S. discovered that spies from China and other countries were targeting private businesses.