Yi-Chi Shih, an electrical engineer and assistant professor at UCLA, was convicted last month by a jury in Los Angeles. He was convicted with 18 charges, including illegally exporting and fraudulent allegations.
With about 18 charges, this professor could be convicted by the court for more than 200 years
Shih and another defendant, Kiet Ahn Mai, were found to have teamed up to deceive a US semiconductor chip manufacturer. According to prosecutors, Mai poses as a potential customer to get the chip design from the company anonymously, then illegally sending products to China.
In a statement, prosecutors said the chips were sent to a Chinese company where Shih was president. He paid for this program through a US-based bank account, funded through another Chinese-based company.
According to the court, stolen chips are used in missiles, missile guidance systems, fighter planes, electronic warfare, electronic warfare countermeasures and radar applications.
Industrial espionage is an important dispute between the US and China. It is also one of the key points creating the current trade war between the two countries. In the past, the United States accused famous Chinese companies, including Huawei, of stealing technology from US businesses.