August 3, 2019
The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois announced on Thursday, July 11, 2019, an indictment charging William Yao with nine criminal counts for the theft of stolen software trade secrets. According to the Illinois Department of Justice, the software engineer stole proprietary information from a suburban Chicago locomotive manufacturer.
The indictment indicated Yao “downloaded more than 3,000 unique electronic files containing proprietary and trade secret information relating to the manufacturer’s locomotives.” It is estimated that Yao had stolen the trade secret information over a 6 months period. According to the indictment, the trade information included technical documents and software source code. In unrelated events, Yao was terminated in February 2015. The indictment stated Yao made numerous copies of electronic and trade secret information after learning of his termination of the stolen trade secret information.
Currently, Yao resides in China after allegedly seeking out, negotiating, and accepting employment with a Chinese business that provides automotive telematic service systems. Presently, Yao possesses stolen trade secret information which includes nine complete copies of the suburban Chicago Company’s control system source code. The location of Yao is unknown but it is believed he currently resides in China.
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