BATON ROUGE (AP) – A former research scientist was convicted Monday of charges he stole trade secrets from Michigan’s Dow Chemical Co. and sold them to companies in China.
After a three-week trial, a federal jury in Baton Rouge convicted Wen Chyu Liu, 74, also known as David Liou, of conspiracy to commit trade secret theft and perjury.
Liu worked at the Midland, Mich.-based chemical giant’s facility in Plaquemine, La., before he retired in 1992. Prosecutors said he conspired with at least four other Dow employees in Louisiana and Germany to sell confidential information about the company’s production of a polymer called chlorinated polyethylene, which is used in automotive hoses, vinyl siding and other products.
“Such actions undermine the economic viability of our community and our nation, and will not be tolerated,” U.S. Attorney Don Cazayoux said in a statement.
Prosecutors said Liu, who was sued by Dow, lied under oath during a deposition for the civil case when he denied making arrangements for a co-conspirator to travel to China to meet with a company’s representative.
The Houston resident faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. His sentencing date wasn’t immediately set.
Liu’s attorney, Frank Holthaus, said his client was stunned by the verdict because he “thought that American justice would see through what Dow had paid its lawyers to do,” Holthaus said.
“The lawyers had one mission: to litigate him into his grave,” the defense attorney added.
Holthaus said two of Liu’s alleged co-conspirators cut plea deals and testified against him. Holthaus said his client collaborated with the others to market a product to the Chinese companies and didn’t have any knowledge of stolen trade secrets.
“He believes still it was a process they all came up with,” he said.
Liu started working for Dow in 1965 after coming to the U.S. from China for graduate work, prosecutors said. He was arrested in 2006.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)