Xiang Dong Yu, ex Ford engineer, was sentenced to nearly six years in prison on Tuesday in Michigan for stealing Ford trade secrets worth as much as $100 million and taking them to China. He must also pay $12,500 in fines. And, upon completion of his sentence, he will be deported.
Yu, 49, was arrested in October 2009 when he arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport from China on charges that he stole thousands of secret documents detailing Ford designs worth millions of dollars.
Yu was a product engineer at Ford from 1997 through early 2007.
Xiang Dong Yu, also known as Mike Yu, admitted in court last November that he copied thousands of documents with details on engine-transmission systems and electrical-power supply before leaving his Ford job to work for a Chinese competitor in 2008.
A year earlier, Ford had received a tip from Mr. Yu’s ex-girlfriend that he’d provided Ford documents to potential employers.
The company has described the information as the “DNA” found in all Ford vehicles.
In sentencing, U.S. District Judge Barbara McQuade said: “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,” Judge McQuade added:. “Those who do not play by the rules will be brought to justice.”