U.S. chemical engineer has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for stealing trade secrets about the composition of coatings for beverage cans to create a Chinese company, NextShark reported.
Xiaorong Shannon Yu, 59, was sentenced by a federal judge in Greeneville, Tennessee, on charges of conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, conspiracy to commit economic espionage, possession of stolen trade secrets, economic espionage and wire fraud.
In addition, she is ordered to pay a $200,000 fine.
She is alleged to have stolen information related to the composition of Bisphenol A-free (BPA) coatings. Companies began developing BPA-free alternatives because of potential health risks.
From December 2012 to August 2017, Yu was chief global research engineer at Coca-Cola. From September 2017 to June 2018, she also served as manager of packaging application development at Eastman Chemical.
The trade secret development cost the coatings companies about $120 million.
The prosecution said the woman hoped to start a BPA-free coating company in China. She and her corporate partner, the Weihai Jinhong Group, received millions of dollars in grants from the Chinese government to support the new company.