Feds bringing charges against engineer for stealing code

Feds bringing charges against engineer for stealing code
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The Justice Department is bringing economic espionage charges against a man accused of stealing source code from an American company.

Xu Jiaqiang allegedly stole and sold the source code from his former employer to two undercover law enforcement agents. He's also accused of planning to transfer the code to the National Health and Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China.

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He was already facing three charges of theft of trade secrets.

“Economic espionage not only harms victim companies that have years or even decades of work stolen, but it also crushes the spirit of innovation and fair play in the global economy,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in a statement Tuesday. Bharara’s office is handling the case. 

The indictment claims Xu resigned from an unnamed company that developed networking software in May, 2014 only to offer to sell the code to two agents. The agents claimed to be starting their own data warehousing business. 

Xu allegedly told the agents that he “could take steps to prevent detection of the proprietary software’s origins, including writing computer scripts that would modify the proprietary source code to conceal its origins,” according to the Justice Department. 

While the federal indictment did not name Xu's company, a report from Reuters said he was listed as an employee of IBM during the period in question.

Xu will be arraigned on Thursday. If convicted of all six counts of theft of trade secrets and economic espionage he could receive a maximum sentence of 75 years.