Processing Magazine

Former Dow Scientist Accused of Stealing Trade Secrets

September 1, 2010
A former Indiana scientist accused of illegally sending trade secrets worth $300 million to China and Germany was ordered detained on charges of economic espionage, reports the Associated Press. A federal indictment alleges that 45-year-old Kexue Huang, who was born in China, passed on proprietary information about the development of organic pesticides to Hunan Normal University while he worked as a researcher for Dow AgroSciences in Indiana from 2003 to 2008. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Ridgeway said Huang, a Canadian citizen with permanent U.S. resident status, used a "patient and calculated" plan to "drain" the Indianapolis-based company of technology that took 20 years to develop. The indictment alleges that Huang published a paper in China about the organic pesticides and also directed students at Hunan Normal in further research. FBI Special Agent Karen Medernach testified that e-mails showed Huang was developing an operation to market the pesticides in China, where he stood to make millions of dollars. She said the agency believed that Huang stole samples of the bacterial strain used in the pesticides and smuggled them to China in his son''s suitcase. The indictment, which had been kept secret since it was filed June 16, charged Huang with 12 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets to benefit a foreign government under the Economic Espionage Act. He also was charged with five counts of foreign transportation of stolen property. The economic espionage charges are each punishable by up to 15 years in prison while the lesser counts could each land him in prison for 10 years. Defense attorney Michael Donahoe called the alleged scheme "hypothetical" and said Huang maintained his innocence.