Woman Sentenced for Illegally Exporting Electronics Components Used in Military Radar, Electronic Warfare, and Missile Systems to China
BOSTON—The former manager of a Massachusetts electronics company was re-sentenced yesterday for illegally exporting electronics components to China.
Yufeng Wei, a Chinese national residing in Belmont, Massachusetts, was sentenced to 23 months in prison for conspiring, over a 10-year period, to illegally export military and sophisticated electronics used in military phased array radar, electronic warfare, and missile systems to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and illegally exporting sensitive electronic components to the PRC in violation of the Export Administration Regulations. Several Chinese military entities were among those to whom the defendant and her co-conspirators exported the equipment.
On March 19, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed Wei’s conviction on export violations charges, for which a jury convicted her in May 2010. The First Circuit vacated two counts of the conviction that charged Wei, and her now ex-husband, Zhen Zhou Wu, with illegally exporting parts designated on the United States Munitions List because it held that the jury instructions given were constitutionally inadequate. However, the First Circuit observed that, from 1996 until 2008, Wu and Wei shipped tens of millions of dollars worth of sophisticated electronic components from the United States to China with little regard for whether the parts that they sold were export-controlled. Further, the First Circuit determined that Wu and Wei repeatedly attempted to disguise the fact that they were exporting to China and that they lacked the necessary licenses to do so. Because two counts of conviction were vacated, the case was remanded for a re-sentencing hearing. Wu was sentenced to 84 months in prison at his re-sentencing hearing held on September 9, 2013.
Wei, 50, was also sentenced to two years of supervised release. After serving her sentence Wei, who has been residing in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident, will be subject to deportation.
On May 17, 2010, Wei, Wu, and Chitron Electronics Inc. (Chitron-US) were convicted of conspiring from 1997 to 2007 to unlawfully export to the PRC military electronics and export restricted electronics components and illegally exporting such parts to the PRC on numerous occasions between 2004 and 2007. The defendants’ illegal enterprise involved the use of Chitron-US, a company Wu established in Waltham, Massachusetts as a front company for its parent company, Chitron Electronics Company Limited, based in Shenzhen, PRC. Wei was a “hands-on” manager at Chitron-US who oversaw the procurement of export restricted equipment from U.S. suppliers and shipment of those goods from Waltham to China, through Hong Kong without the suppliers’ knowledge. The exported equipment is used in electronic warfare, military radar, fire control, military guidance and control equipment, missile systems, and satellite communications. Many of Chitron’s customers were Chinese military research institutes and military entities responsible for procuring, developing, and manufacturing electronic components for China’s Army, Navy, and Air Force.
The Department of Defense’s Defense Technology Security Administration concluded in a report filed with the court that the defendants’ activities in this case seriously threatened “U.S. national and regional security interests.” According to the Department of Defense, the parts the defendants were convicted of illegally exporting are “vital for Chinese military electronic warfare, military radar, fire control, military guidance and control equipment, and satellite communications.” The report further concluded that the illegally exported parts are “precisely the [types of] items...that the People’s Liberation Army actively seeks to acquire.”
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin of the Justice Department’s National Security Division; John J. McKenna, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, Boston Field Office; Bruce Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston Field Office; and Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Resident Agent in Charge of Defense Criminal Investigative Service in Boston made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and John A. Capin of Ortiz’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.