On May 26, Haoyang Yu of Lexington was found guilty of possessing a stolen trade secret following a month-long jury trial. The jury acquitted him of 18 other counts of possessing stolen trade secrets, immigration fraud, wire fraud and illegal export. Yu’s conviction is the first in the District of Massachusetts following a criminal trial of this kind – but his lawyers, William Fick and Daniel Marx, contend that Yu was targeted for his race; their pre-trial motion to dismiss the case due to unlawful profiling and targeting Yu for Chinese ethnicity remains pending.
Yu was convicted of possessing a microchip prototype design with aerospace and defense uses owned and developed by Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI), a semiconductor company. Yu worked at ADI from 2014 to 2017, and started his own microchip design firm while still an ADI employee; he used ADI’s microchip design to “manufacture a knock-off” which he began selling prior to ADI’s chip release, per a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins. The Lexington Police Department was one of several entities to assist with the investigation.
Fick and Marx applauded the jury’s acquittals of Yu on the vast majority of charges. “We have always contended, and the jury agreed, that Mr. Yu did not commit any wire fraud, immigration fraud, or export violations,” they wrote in an email to LexObserver. They plan to file a post-trial motion for acquittal on his single conviction.
Yu’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15. He faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
A Chinese Americans of Lexington (CALex) volunteer expressed some concern about the case. “Based on my conversations with other community members, race and ethnicity play an important role in this case,” she wrote, speaking to “a collection of input from community members” rather than her personal opinion. “It is not a good use of tax payer’s money for the federal government and FBI [to take] charge of this case and [target] a specific ethnic group.”
A Chinese American Association of Lexington (CAAL) representative wrote that “CAAL leadership don’t know Mr. Yu and his wife personally to make any useful comment,” adding, “This seems to be a very isolated case in the Chinese American community.”