A federal judge in Greeneville, Tennessee, sentenced Xiaorong You, also known as Shannon You, to 168 months in prison Monday.
You, from Lansing, Michigan, received the 14-year sentence after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, conspiracy to commit corporate espionage, possession of stolen trade secrets, economic espionage and wire fraud, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). You was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and must pay a $200,000 fine, the DOJ noted.
You, a chemical engineer, was scheming to steal trade secrets related to the development of material compositions used inside of drink cans, according to prosecutors, the Associated Press reported. (RELATED: Authorities Charge Chinese Telecom Company With Stealing Trade Secrets)
— FBI (@FBI) May 10, 2022
You and her Chinese corporate partner received millions of dollars from Chinese government grants to support a new business venture centered on the stolen intellectual property for BPA-free coating, according to the DOJ. The materials cost companies nearly $120 million to develop, the AP reported.
“As the evidence at trial showed, the defendant stole valuable trade secrets and intended to use them to benefit not only a foreign company, but also the government of China,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the DOJ’s National Security division said, according to the press release. “Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness of this offense, as well as the Department of Justice’s commitment to protect our nation’s security by investigating and prosecuting those who steal U.S. companies’ intellectual property.”
You was sentenced after a 13-day trial in 2021, according to the DOJ press release. She was working as a principal engineer for global research at the Coca-Cola Company when she gained access to some of the data she stole, the DOJ stated. She also reportedly gained access to BPA-free trade secrets while working at Eastman Chemical Company.