DETROIT -- A former Ford Motor Co. product engineer could serve more than six years in federal prison under the conditions of his guilty plea today in federal court to the theft of trade secrets from the automaker.
Xiang Dong Yu, 49, also known as Mike Yu of Beijing, faces 63 to 78 months in prison plus a fine of up to $150,000 and deportation after completing his sentence, under the terms of a plea entered before Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen in Detroit.
Yu was arrested after arriving in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in late 2009, and remains in federal custody awaiting sentencing Feb. 23. China does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
Federal officials claim Yu, a product engineer from 1997-2007 at Ford, got a new job with Foxconn PCE Industry Inc. in Shenzhen, China, in late 2006 and copied 4,000 company documents onto an external computer hard drive shortly before his departure from Ford, when the automaker was still unaware of his new job.
Among those records were system design specifications for an engine/transmission mounting subsystem, electrical distribution system, electric power supply and generic body module.
Yu later took another position with Beijing Automotive Corp., a direct competitor with Ford, in 2008 until his arrival and arrest in Chicago.
“We will vigilantly protect the intellectual property of our U.S. automakers, who invest millions of dollars and decades of time in research and development to compete in a global economy,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement today.
“Those who do not play by the rules will be brought to justice.”