A jury found Yi-Chi Shih, 64, an electrical engineer, guilty of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), mail fraud, wire fraud, subscribing to a false tax return, making false statements to a government agency, and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.
Shih tried to make a living by exporting, to China, semiconductors with military and civilian uses. Shih and co-defendant Kiet Ahn Mai, 65, of Pasadena, conspired to illegally provide Shih with unauthorized access to a protected computer of a United States company that manufactured wide-band, high-power semiconductor chips known as monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs).
Shih defrauded the U.S. company out of its proprietary, export-controlled items, including its design services for MMICs. Shih accessed the victim company’s computer systems via its web portal after Mai obtained that access by posing as a domestic customer seeking to obtain custom-designed MMICs that would be used solely in the United States. Shih used Mai to conceal his true intent to export the U.S. company’s MMICs to China. Shih never got a Commerce Department license to send the goods to China.
The victim company’s semiconductor chips have several commercial and military applications, and its customers include the Air Force, Navy, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. MMICs are used in missiles, missile guidance systems, fighter jets, electronic warfare, electronic warfare countermeasures and radar applications.
Bottom line: Get the license!