A Chinese national who worked at a leading U.S. agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation and one of its subsidiaries has been indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit economic espionage, three counts of economic espionage, one count of conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, and three counts of theft of trade secrets.

According to the Justice Department, from 2008 to 2017 the Chinese national worked as an imaging scientist and had access to a proprietary predictive algorithm considered by the U.S. corporation to be a valuable trade secret. The Justice Department alleges that in June 2017, one day after leaving the U.S. company, the Chinese national bought a one-way plane ticket to China but was intercepted at the airport by federal officials who seized copies of the proprietary algorithm. 

If convicted of the economic espionage charges, the Chinese national could face up to 15 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Each theft of trade secrets charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison as well as a $250,000 fine.

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