San Jose man charged with illegally exporting aviation technology to Chinese university
SAN FRANCISCO — A 34-year-old San Jose man has been charged with illegally exporting and smuggling sensitive U.S. aviation technology to a Chinese university, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Jonathan Yet Wing Soong made his first appearance in U.S. District Court on Thursday to face charges related to violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and smuggling. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for breaking the law and up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine for smuggling.
Between April 2016 and September 2020, Soong worked as a program administrator for the Universities Space Research Association, or USRA, a nonprofit company contracted by NASA to distribute sensitive aeronautics-related software developed under the Army software transfer agreement program, according to an unsealed complaint. Thursday. Soong was responsible for overseeing certain software license sales, verifying customer export compliance, generating software licenses and, on occasion, physically exporting software.
According to the complaint, Soong in August 2017 arranged to sell an army flight control software package to Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics through an intermediary, Beijing Rainbow Technical Development. ltd. list of entities that are not authorized to receive certain technologies with potential commercial and military applications. The university was on the list because of its involvement in the People’s Republic of China’s military rocket systems and unmanned aerial vehicle systems.
“Soong admitted to doing the export on behalf of Beijing Rainbow but for the use of (Peking University), but claimed that other customers had legitimately used third-party shopping systems and he believed that this case was no different,” the 19-page complaint states. . “He finally admitted that making Beijing Rainbow the ultimate buyer was done to avoid detecting that the real buyer was on the entity list.”
On January 2, 2018, the USRA received a wire transfer of $2,182 for the sale of the program.
According to the complaint, Soong also admitted that the nonprofit company had not received all the credit card payments made for the software he had exported over the years, and he admitted that some of the payments were went to his personal account.
“He claimed that when customers wanted to pay by credit card, the USRA did not have a method in place to accept credit card payments,” the complaint states. “He claimed he justified the payments as giving himself a ‘bonus’ and estimated he had stolen ‘tens of thousands’ over the years.”
On September 18, 2020, Soong submitted a check for $161,010 to the USRA, according to the complaint.
Soong’s next court appearance is set for June 2.