The United States Attorney's Office / Central District of California
June 6, 2007
FIFTH FAMILY MEMBER PLEADS GUILTY IN SCHEME TO EXPORT U.S. DEFENSE ARTICLES TO CHINA
SANTA ANA, California -- The fifth member of a Southern California family who conspired to export United States defense articles to the People’s Republic of China has pleaded guilty to acting as an agent of the PRC.
Rebecca Laiwah Chiu, 63, of Downey, pleaded guilty late Tuesday night to failing to register as a foreign agent. On the first day of a trial in United States District Court, Chiu admitted that she operated within the United States under the control of the government of the PRC.
Chiu is the fifth and final defendant to be convicted for participating in a scheme to obtain sensitive military technology and to illegally export the material to the PRC.
The other defendants previous convicted in this case are:
- Chi Mak, 66, of Downey, who is Chiu’s husband and a former engineer for defense contractor Power Paragon, was at the center of the conspiracy and was convicted at trial;
- Chi Mak’s brother, Tai Mak, 57, of Alhambra, who pleaded guilty on Monday;
- Tai Mak’s wife, Fuk Heung Li, 49, also of Alhambra, who pleaded guilty on Monday; and
- Tai Mak’s son, Yui “Billy” Mak, 27 of Alhambra, who pleaded guilty last Friday.
An investigation by federal authorities revealed that co-conspirators from the PRC provided Chi Mak with “tasking lists” that requested specific defense information, including sensitive areas of U.S. Naval research concerning nuclear-powered submarines. The lists contained instructions for Chi Mak to participate in seminars and then compile the information he obtained at the seminars onto computer disks. Chi Mak collected technical information about the Navy’s current and future warship technologies, some of which constituted defense articles. This included information that was sensitive and subject to restriction regarding its distribution, storage and handling. Chi Mak and his wife copied the information intended for the PRC onto CD-ROM disks, which were then given to Tai Mak. Billy Mak then encrypted the defense data onto a CD-ROM disk in preparation for surreptitious delivery to the PRC. This CD-ROM was found hidden in luggage on October 28, 2005 when Fuk Li and Tai Mak attempted to board a flight to the PRC at Los Angeles International Airport. Tai Mak and Fuk Li were arrested at the airport, while Chi Mak and Chiu were arrested at their home. Billy Mak was charged and arrested last year.
“This counterintelligence investigation, worked in partnership with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, resulted not only with a trial conviction of Mr. Chi Mak on all charges, but also guilty pleas from the remaining four defendants who've admitted to charges that include failing to register as an agent of a foreign government, as well as violating export control laws,” said J. Stephen Tidwell, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles. “This case exemplifies the FBI's vision and tenacity in its commitment to protecting America's crown jewels, many of which can be found in Southern California, and should send a warning to those who would endeavor to compromise national security.”
Chi Mak was found guilty by a federal jury last month of conspiracy, two counts of attempting to violate export control laws, failing to register as a foreign agent and making false statements to federal investigators. Chi Mak is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney on September 10, at which time he faces a maximum possible sentence of 45 years in federal prison. Chi Mak has been in jail since his arrest.
The plea agreement between Chiu and the government calls for a sentence of three years in federal prison. Chiu, who is free on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Carney on October 29.
Tai Mak pleaded guilty to conspiring to export defense articles, a crime that carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison. Tai Mak, who has been in jail since he was arrested, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Carney on October 1.
Fuk Mak pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the attempted illegal export scheme. Fuk Mak, who is free on bond, is expected to receive a probationary sentence on October 1.
Billy Mak, who is also free on bond, also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the scheme and is expected to receive a sentence of probation on September 24.
This investigation was conducted jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which received substantial assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Chi Mak - Chinese Espionage Case
Techie Sold Out U.S.
China Military Magazine (military.people.com.cn) - Chinese 4/4/07:
Guided Missile Destroyer Secrets Theft by China
Techie Sold Out U.S.
Jury Convicts Chinese-Born Engineer Chi Mak of Passing U.S. Military Secrets to China
辩方律师卡耶(Ronald Kaye)对此案结果深表失望，他表示，检方对保证国防安全过分敏感，因此一直都歪曲本案事实。“我们将会上诉，”卡耶说，“今天是悲哀的一天，我们始终相信麦先生是无辜的。”联邦检察官斯坦布斯(Greg Staples)则如同往日自信满满，他对裁决结果表示高兴，“从一开始，我们就很自信。”他还称这次判罪为各部门（包括联邦调查局，国土安全部门等）职业精神的标志。联邦助理检察官米萨克因（Craig Missakian）也表示：“这是一个历经艰难的案件，但是从开始我们就相信最终会胜诉。”
Digital Evidence of Chi Mak Trial in the Internet
Doc encrypted & sent to China by CA alleged Chinese Spy Ring on Sub Power - Author Chi Mak
4Law Basics - 5 members of a family accused of scheming to send sensitive information about Navy warships to China were indicted on conspiracy charges. The indictment - counts of conspiracy to export U.S. defense articles to China, possession of property in aid of a foreign government and making false statements to federal investigators to existing charges .Named in the indictment were Chi Mak, a U.S. citizen who worked for Anaheim defense contractor Power Paragon; his wife, Rebecca Laiwah Chiu; his brother, Tai Mak; Tai Mak's wife, Fuk Heung Li; and their son, Billy Yui Mak. An engineer & Chinese Television Director are among 5 people indicted on charges of stealing secret documents on Navy warships and trying to smuggle them again to China. China received ship data hidden in music files for years. Documents about warships, including some being built in Newport News, were passed on to China. Chi Mak took computer documents to his brother Tai, then he encrypted the files and made them look like music files on compact discs. The PRC agent is Pu Pei Lang, a researcher at the Chinese Center for Asia Pacific Studies (CAPS) in Zhongshan Uuniversity in Guangzhou. Some of the documents found sensitive U.S. Navy technology on aircraft carriers and submarines being built at Northrop Grumman Newport News, hundreds of sensitive documents about ship technology about nuclear reactors and electrical distribution systems on Virginia-class submarines, Those subs are now being built jointly by Northrop Grumman Newport News & General Dynamics Electric Boat, in Groton, Conn. Other papers found pertained to systems that were being developed for the next-generation aircraft carrier, the CVN-21. Those include a new plane-launching system that uses electromagnetic rather than steam-driven catapults to send a fighter jet off the flight deck. They also included the advanced arresting gear, the system of cables designed to help the planes return.they were passing information about: the electrical distribution system for Virginia-class subs , circuit breaker systems for Virginia-class subs , electromagnetic launch systems for aircraft carriers , the Aegis radar system used on Navy destroyers ,reports on Navy battleship survivability. FBI/LA Notice. Virginia-class submarine USS Hawaii. The Torpedo Room of USS Hawaii 4/5/07 in Groton, Conn. Members of the media were given a tour of the USS Hawaii, a Virginia-class fast attack submarine, at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton. The fast-attack nuclear submarine was commissioned during ceremonies at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton 5/5/07. China received ship data hidden in music files for years of Virginia-class submarines.5 members of a family accused in this case. Officials once said they had broken a major Chinese espionage ring. But it has morphed into an export-law prosecution. Jury convicts Chinese-born engineer Chi Mak of passing U.S. Military secrets to China in May 10, 2007.