The former GM engineer got one year in prison and her husband three years for stealing trade secrets related to hybrid technology to be used in China.
The former GM engineer Shanshan Du, 54, and her husband Yu Qin, 52, were sentenced yesterday, May 1st, by the US District Judge Marianne Battani in Detroit and both were given sentences way below the 8 to 10 years that the government has sought. In November, Du and Qin were convicted by a federal jury on two counts for unauthorized possession of trade secrets and one for conspiracy to possess the secrets without permission.
“I’m pleased that the judge went below the sentencing guidelines, and took into consideration Mr. Qin’s contributions to the engineering field, his respect in that field, and his remorse,” Qin’s lawyer Frank Eaman said in an interview.
The couple was accused of stealing confidential GM information related to hybrid vehicles and trying to give them to the automaker’s Chinese rivals, including Chery Automobile, through their company Millennium Technology International. After GM gave Du a severance offer in January 2005, she copied more than 16,000 files valued at about $40 million.
“These defendants stole trade secrets, which General Motors spent many years and millions of dollars to develop, to give an unfair advantage to a foreign competitor,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade in Detroit said in a statement. “Stealing trade secrets harms Michigan businesses and costs jobs.”