Shanshan Du, a former General Motors engineer has been ruled guilty of conspiracy to possess trade secrets without authorization, as well as two counts of unauthorized trade secret possession by a jury at the U.S. District Court in Detroit, Michigan. At the same time, Du’s husband, Yu Qin, was found guilty on the same counts, along with three counts of wire fraud and another for obstruction of justice. They will be sentenced in February 2013.
The maximum penalty for the trade secret counts is up to 10 years of prison and a $250,000 fine. Even heavier are the wire fraud counts and an obstruction charge, with each carrying a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Du and Qin were caught trying to steal GM trade secrets related to hybrid vehicles in hopes to pass them on to China’s Chery Automobile Co. However, their attorneys maintain that the documents in question were not trade secrets.
“There were no ‘trade secrets’ involved in this case. We are sorry the jury did not understand that and we hope the court or the court of appeals will set aside this verdict,” Frank Eaman, Qin’s attorney, told Automotive News.