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

Department of Justice


Trade Secret/Economic Espionage Cases

September 6, 2005

Department Of Justice
Northern District of California
United States Attorney
Luke Macaulay
11th Floor, Federal Building
450 Golden Gate Avenue, Box 36055
San Francisco, California 94102
Tel: (415) 436-6757

Chip Design Engineer Pleads Guilty to Transporting Stolen Property of Silicon Valley Company to Taiwan

The United States Attorney for the Northern District of California announced that Shin-Guo Tsai, 35, of San Jose, California, pleaded guilty this morning in federal court to transporting proprietary property of a Silicon Valley-based semiconductor company to a potential competitor in Taiwan.

Mr. Tsai, a design engineer, was originally arrested in February 2005 and charged in a criminal complaint with transporting "data sheets" of the victim company to a potential competitor in Taiwan in late December 2004 in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314. On September 6, 2005, Mr. Tsai was arraigned on a charge of transporting a stolen data sheet containing his employer's proprietary information in foreign commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314 and pleaded guilty to this charge pursuant to a plea agreement he entered into with the United States. According to the plea agreement, Mr. Tsai admitted that he sent the stolen data sheet for Volterra's VT1103 product to his contacts at CMSC, Inc. in Taiwan. Mr. Tsai also admitted that he stole the data sheet and that the value of the proprietary information contained in the datasheet is worth no less than $120,000.

The foreign transportation of stolen property charge carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. Mr. Tsai is scheduled to be sentenced on January 23, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. before United States District Judge Ronald M. Whyte.

The prosecution is being handled by the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Unit of the United States Attorney's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shashi Kewalramani from the CHIP Unit is prosecuting the case with the help of legal assistant Mimi Lam. This prosecution is a result of an investigation by the Palo Alto Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Further Information:

A copy of this press release and related court filings may be found on the U.S. Attorney's Office's website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

Further procedural and docket information along with electronic court filings for criminal cases filed since February 2005 are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/ (click on the link for "to retrieve documents from the court.")

Judges' calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court's website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's Office should be directed to AUSA Christopher P. Sonderby at (408) 535-5037, or Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at Luke.Macaulay3@usdoj.gov.


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