Dongfan "Greg" Chung, 73, was found guilty of economic espionage earlier this week, as he reportedly was an agent for the People's Republic of China while working as an engineer at Rockwell International and Boeing.
During the 10-day trial in Santa Ana, California, without a jury, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney said Chung served as a Chinese agent for more than 30 years.
"The trust Boeing placed in Mr. Chung to safeguard its proprietary and trade secret information obviously meant very little to Mr. Chung," Judge Carney said in a 31-page written verdict. "He cast it aside to serve the PRC, which he proudly proclaimed to be his 'motherland.' The court must now hold Mr. Chung accountable for his crimes."
Chung is the first person to be convicted under Economic Espionage Act of 1996, and is believed to have taken Boeing trade secrets -- although it remains unknown how much information he stole, he reportedly took information related to the Delta IV rocket and NASA's space shuttle program.
The FBI and NASA began investigating Chung in 2006 -- he was arrested by the FBI in February 2008. He had a high-level security clearance from 1973 until 2002, so the federal government will never be sure how much information he had access to. Members from the Chinese aviation industry first approached Chung in 1979, and from 1985 to 2003, he gave lectures and updates related to current space technology.
Chung, who is a Chinese-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was previously out on bail, but now has been locked up until sentencing on Nov. 9. He faces a maximum of 90 years for his crimes, and is expected to spend the rest of his life in federal prison.
Chung worked under the radar for a number of years, and was only noticed when Chi Mak, another Chinese agent, was convicted of offering defense articles to China. Mak and his co-conspirators were given minimum 24-year sentences.