Notre Dame Graduate Convicted of Trying to Sell Motorola Secrets to China

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Just when you thought you had your stereotypical Chinese spy pegged, a 41-year-old Notre Dame graduate is convicted of selling trade secrets to a Chinese tech firm.

Today, a federal judge convicted a Hanjuan Jin, a Chinese-born American, of stealing confidential information from Motorola after she was caught carrying a one-way ticket to China, $31,000 and 1,000 Motorola documents (stored digitally) at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in 2007. The Associated Press reports:

Federal prosecutors say Jin, a University of Notre Dame graduate who rose through the Motorola ranks, began downloading the documents at her Chicago-area office after returning from an extended medical leave two days earlier.

Prosecutor Christopher Stetler told the court Jin "led a double life" as a seemingly loyal company worker who was actually plotting to steal her employer's secrets.

Prosecutors say Jin started working with a Chinese tech company and she understood the trade secrets would be passed on to China's military. However, Jin's attorney made a pretty good case (though apparently not good enough) that the trade secrets in question were pretty low-tech. (This is Motorola after all. Are we worried the Chinese are finally going to crack the secrets behind the Razr?) "Her lawyer, [Beth] Gaus, told the judge the technology at issue, including a walkie-talkie type feature on Motorola cellphones, was far from cutting edge and would have been of little use to China's military." Thank God Nextel's trade secrets haven't yet been compromised.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.