CHICAGO A former employee
of General Motors Co. and her husband have been convicted of
allegedly possessing trade secrets about the engineering of
hybrid vehicles and conspiring to use them to benefit their own
Engineer Shanshan Du and her
husband, Yu Qin, were convicted by a jury in U.S. District
Court in eastern Michigan. The judge ordered their property in
Troy, Mich., be forfeited to the court.
The U.S. Attorneys Office
had handed down a seven-count indictment against the couple
July 22, and they were arrested soon thereafter.
According to the charges, the
couple conspired to possess trade secret information relating
to hybrid vehicles between December 2003 and May 2006, knowing
the information had been stolen, converted or obtained without
While employed at Detroit-based
GM, Du allegedly provided secret information relating to hybrid
vehicles to her husband, Qin, for his benefit and for the
benefit of Millennium Technology International Inc. (MTI),
which the couple owned and operated.
About five days after Du was
offered a severance agreement by GM in January 2005, she
allegedly copied 16,000 proprietary company documents,
including trade secret documents, to an external computer hard
drive used for MTI business.
A few months later, Qin launched
a business venture to provide hybrid vehicle technology to
Wuhu, China-based Chery Automobile Co. Ltd., a competitor of
GM, which has been developing
and manufacturing hybrid vehicles for more than a decade,
estimated the value of the stolen documents at more than $40
Qin and Du face up to 10 years
in prison on each of the three counts related to charges of
stealing trade secrets. Yu faces an additional maximum term of
30 years on each of three wire-fraud counts and up to 20 years
on an obstruction-of-justice count.
The court will set a sentencing
date in February.