BOSTON - The manager of a Massachusetts electronics company was sentenced today to 36 months in prison for conspiring over a period of 10 years to export military electronics components and sensitive electronics used in military systems to the People's Republic of China (PRC). The Waltham, Mass., company she managed, Chitron Electronics, Inc., (Chitron-US), was fined $15.5 million stemming from their convictions last year. Several Chinese military entities were among those to whom the defendants exported the equipment. The sentence is the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
In May 2010, Yufeng Wei, 46, of Belmont, Mass., was convicted of illegally exporting U.S. Munitions List parts and export restricted sensitive technology to the PRC over a period of 10 years, illegally exporting electronics to the PRC (between 2004 and 2007), and conspiring to file, and filing, false shipping documents with the U.S. Department of Commerce (2005-2007).
Also in May 2010, Chitron-US was convicted of unlawfully exporting military electronics and exporting restricted electronics to the PRC and illegally exporting such parts to the PRC on 26 occasions between 2004 and 2007. Earlier this week, Zhen Zhou Wu, Wei's ex-husband and the Chinese national who owned Chitron-US, was sentenced to 97 months in prison for his role in the illegal export conspiracy.
On May 17, 2010, following a five-week trial, Wei and Chitron-US, along with Wu, were convicted of conspiring from 1997 to 2007 to unlawfully export to the PRC military electronics and export restricted electronics components and illegally exporting such parts to the PRC on numerous occasions between 2004 and 2007. The defendants' illegal enterprise involved the use of Chitron-US as a front company for its parent company, Chitron Electronics Company Limited, headquartered in Shenzhen, PRC. Wei used Chitron-US to procure export restricted equipment from U.S. suppliers and then export the goods to China, through Hong Kong. The exported equipment is used in electronic warfare, military radar, fire control, military guidance and control equipment, missile systems, and satellite communications.
Chitron sought to market electronics to Chinese military factories and military research institutes, including numerous institutes of the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, which is responsible for the procurement, development, and manufacture of electronics for the Chinese military, including the People's Liberation Army.
The Department of Defense's Defense Technology Security Administration has concluded in a report filed with the Court that the defendants' activities seriously threatened, "U.S. national and regional security interests." According to the Department of Defense, the parts the defendants were convicted of illegally exporting are "vital for Chinese military electronic warfare, military radar, fire control, military guidance and control equipment, and satellite communications." Further, the illegally exported parts are "precisely the [types of] items ... that the People's Liberation Army actively seeks to acquire."
Also charged in the indictment was Chitron-US's parent company, Chitron-Shenzhen, which received the U.S. electronics and delivered the parts to Chinese end-users. The Court has entered a contempt order against Chitron-Shenzhen for refusing to appear for trial.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen M. Ortiz; Assistant Attorney General David Kris of the Justice Department's National Security Division; Bruce Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of ICE HSI in Boston; John J. McKenna, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, Boston Field Office; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI - Boston Field Office; and Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Resident Agent in Charge of the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service in Boston made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and John A. Capin of Ortiz's Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.