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Trade Secret/Economic Espionage Cases - U.S. v. Sun (N.D. Cal)

Department of Justice


Trade Secret/Economic Espionage Cases

April 11, 2003

U.S. Department of
United States
Northern District of California
Golden Gate Avenue, Box 36055
11th Floor, Federal Building
Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 436-7200

Chicago, Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Theft of Trade Secrets, Offered to Sell Online Interpreter’s Information

  The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced that Tse Thow Sun pled guilty on April 9, 2003 to theft of trade secrets. Mr. Sun, 32, a citizen of Singapore, was indicted by a federal Grand Jury on April 9, 2002. He was charged with theft of trade secrets, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1832(a)(3); attempted theft of trade secrets, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1832(a)(4); and interstate transportation of stolen goods, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314. Under the plea agreement, Mr. Sun pled guilty to theft of trade secrets.

In pleading guilty, Mr. Sun admitted that in early 2002, he was employed as an information technology specialist with Online Interpreters in Chicago, Illinois. The company was in the business of providing real-time translation services over the phone for a variety of clients who had non-English speaking customers. Mr. Sun admitted that in March 2002, he approached the president of a competing business located in Northern California, with an offer to sell confidential information about Online Interpreters. Mr. Sun demanded $3 million for the information. At a meeting on March 29, 2002, Mr. Sun delivered a laptop computer and a hard drive that contained trade secrets and confidential propriety information about Online to the competitor. Mr. Sun admitted that he stole this information from his employer. The sentencing of Mr. Sun is scheduled for June 18, 2003 before United States District Judge Maxine Chesney in San Francisco. The maximum statutory penalty for the theft of trade secrets is ten years and a fine of $250,000. However, the actual sentence be dictated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and will be imposed in the discretion of the Court. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The investigation was overseen by the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Susan Badger is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case with the assistance of Jessica Chavez. A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can. Related court documents and information may be found on the District Court website at www.cand.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.cand.uscourts/gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Jacobs at (415)436-7181.  


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