The concern expressed recently that the government of China has sanctioned the theft of trade secrets from a large number of American companies, as well as information from US government agencies, has hit home in the greater Philadelphia area.
The US Attorney's Office in Philadelphia has indicted five people for scheming to steal trade secrets from the biopharmaceutical firm of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), whose research facility is in Upper Merion, Pa.
Charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, theft of trade secrets and wire fraud are Yu Xue, Wayne, Pa.; Tao Li, Nanjing, China; Yan Mei, Nanjing; Tian Xe, Charlotte, NC, and Lucy Xi, West Lake Village, Ca. All of the accused are between the of age 36 and 45.
According to the indictment, Yu Xue and Lucy Xi were scientists working at GSK's Montgomery County research facility when they engaged in an alleged scheme to steal trade secrets related to GSK pharmaceutical research data, procedures and manufacturing processes — many of which involved products designed to treat cancer or other serious diseases. Yu Xue, Tao Li and Yan Mei, with the help of relatives in China, allegedly formed a corporation there to market and sell the stolen information.
The case, the result of an investigation by the FBI, is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Robert Livermore. If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces a possible prison term, fines and restitution.