A former software engineer for a Chicago-area telecommunications company has been indicted for allegedly misappropriating over 1,000 proprietary documents containing trade secrets which she was evidently attempting to transport with her to her new job in China. Neither company has been named.
The defendant, Hanjuan Jin, a naturalized citizen, took a medical leave of absence from the Chicago-based company (Company A) in February 2006. During her medical leave, she accepted a job with a company in China (Company B) where she was to develop communications software. She then informed Company A that she would return to work on February 26, 2007, without notifying the company that she had secured a job in China. After purchasing a one-way ticket to China for Feb. 28, 2007, Jin returned to Company A and allegedly downloaded hundreds of documents. She allegedly returned that night as well as the next night to copy more documents. These documents included descriptions of how Company A provides an interstate communication feature that cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars to develop, and federal authorities claim that had Jin succeeded in bringing them to China, Company A could have lost more than $600 million over the next three years.
Jin was arrested and the documents seized at O’Hare Airport on Feb. 28, 2007. She was charged with three counts of theft of trade secrets. If convicted, each count carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
For more information, see http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/suburban-chicago-woman-indicted-for,337647.shtml or http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-trade-secrets-webapr03,1,1758307.story.