Thursday, April 4, 2013

Zhao Charged For Stealing Patented Cancer Research Material To Export To China

Hua Jun Zhao

Chinese national working at the Medical College of Wisconsin charged with economic espionage. 

By H. Nelson Goodson
April 4, 2013

Milwaukee, WI - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported in a news release that on March 29, 2013, special agents in the Milwaukee Division of the FBI arrested Hua Jun Zhao, 42, and charged him with knowingly engaging in economic espionage benefiting a foreign government, foreign instrumentality, or foreign agent, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1831 (a) (1)(2)(3), according to the federal criminal complaint.
Zhao, a researcher allegedly used his employment and position at the Medical College of Wisconsin to illegally acquire vials of patented cancer research material known as compound C-25 and to have taken steps to provide that material to the Zhejiang University in China. 
The FBI found evidence that Zhao managed to sent at least three vials of organic C-25 to China. Also, information extracted by college security from his personal computer yielded hundreds of documents from Dr. Marshall Anderson's cancer research, including a grant application in the Mandarin Chinese language requesting funding from the Chinese college to continue his research on the organic C-25. Dr. Anderson's documents were deleted from Zhao's computer, according to the FBI. 
Zhao was known to copy sensitive research documents in his computer and was restricted from doing so. During the federal investigation, Zhao pretended not to understand investigator's questions, but co-workers say, Zhao can speak and understand English very well.
Zhao put himself as the actual inventor of the patented C-25 oin the Chinese grant request, which Dr. Anderson developed. The C-25 compound is on the verge of a break through that would actually aid other drugs to destroy cancer cells instead of harming healthy human cells, according to Dr. Anderson's research.
The vials of C-25 went missing in February after Dr. Anderson left the lab leaving three vials on a desk. When he returned, the vials were missing. Video surveillance in the building showed Zhao entering the lab and then leaving at the time the vials were reported missing.
The FBI also found that Zhao had bought a plane ticket and was planning to leave the U.S. on April 2, and return to China. Zhao remains at the Milwaukee County jail and federal prosecutors will request no bail for Zhao, who is considered a flight risk.
The arrest was a direct result of successful outreach by the FBI's Division's Strategic Partnership Program. This program focuses on fostering communication and building awareness through partnerships with key public and private entities. The goal of the outreach is to protect United States sensitive information, technologies, and competitiveness in an age of globalization.
"This investigation underscores the importance of the FBI's outreach to our community partners," said Teresa L. Carlson, Special Agent in Charge. "The FBI will aggressively pursue those who would attempt to steal trade secrets, proprietary information, or national security information."
The U.S. Government estimates that foreign countries, especially China have stolen U.S. business secrets totaling more than $200 billion. 

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