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Press Release
For Immediate Release
April 9, 2002
U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Northern District of California
450 Golden Gate Avenue, Box 36055
11th Floor, Federal Building
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 436-7200
Fax:(415) 436-7234

FBI Sting Nabs Trade Secret Thief Offering to Sell OnLine Interpreters' Information

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced that a federal grand jury returned an indictment this afternoon against Tse Thow Sun, age 31, and a resident of Chicago, Il, for theft of trade secrets and interstate transportation of stolen property.

The indictment against Tse Thow Sun, a Singapore national, alleges one count of theft of trade secrets in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1832 and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314. Mr. Sun was arrested on March 29, 2002, as the culmination of a sting operation conducted by the FBI based on a criminal complaint filed with the Court.

An affidavit filed by an FBI agent in the case alleges that Mr. Sun contacted the president of Language Line Services in Monterey, California in March 2002 and offered to sell to him proprietary information of Language Line Service’s chief competitor, Online Interpreters, for $3 million. Attorneys for Language Line Services promptly contacted the FBI. With the continuing assistance of individuals from both companies, the FBI arranged a meeting on March 24, 2002. At that meeting, Mr. Sun provided certain documents to prove that he had access to the trade secrets of Online Interpreters. In return, Mr. Sun received $5,000. A subsequent meeting was arranged to deliver the remaining trade secrets on March 29, 2002, in exchange for $3 million. Following this meeting, Mr. Sun was arrested.

Mr. Sun was ordered by a federal magistrate to remain in custody. His next court appearance is for arraignment on April 12, 2002, at 9:30 a.m. before Magistrate Judge Larson.

The prosecution is the result of an investigation by special agents of the FBI. Michael Malecek is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Joseph Keefe.

The maximum statutory penalty for a violations of both 18 U.S.C. § 1832 and 18 U.S.C. 2314 is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be dictated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and would be imposed in the discretion of the Court. An indictment simply contains allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Sun must be presumed innocent unless and until convicted.

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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