Ex-Apple employee faces charges for trade secrets theft

May 17, 2023

United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp announced that a federal grand jury indicted former Apple employee Weibao Wang on charges of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets in connection with a scheme to access, download, and steal Apple technology related to autonomous systems.

The indictment states that Apple began employing Wang, 35, a former resident of Mountain View, California, as a software engineer in March 2016. The indictment describes Wang’s signing of an Apple confidentiality agreement. The prosecution further expresses that Apple furnished Wang with in-person mystery preparing that covered the fitting treatment of classified material, and laid out rules disallowing the exchange and transmission of the organization’s licensed innovation without Apple’s assent. Wang was relegated to work with a group at Apple that planned and created equipment and programming for independent frameworks, which can have various applications, like self-driving vehicles.

According to U.S. Attorney Ramsey, “innovation is alive and well in Silicon Valley—indeed, throughout the Northern District of California.” Sadly, there will always be those who defraud the system by stealing and making a profit from the labor of others. One illustration is the Wang case. We are pleased that the Disruptive Technology Task Force has reenergized its efforts to safeguard innovation for its actual creators.

“The assurance of licensed innovation privileges is significant to the monetary security of our locale, which is home to widely acclaimed creativity and development,” said FBI Specialist in Control Tripp. “The FBI is committed to collaborating with our law enforcement partners to pursue individuals who take shortcuts by employing deceptive and illegal methods to obstruct law enforcement investigations for their own benefit.”

As per the prosecution, in November of 2017, somewhat more than over two years subsequent to being conceded admittance to a scope of Apple’s delicate materials, Wang marked a letter tolerating a proposal of everyday work as a Staff Designer with the U.S.- based auxiliary of an organization settled in Individuals’ Republic of China. The indictment alleges that the parent company, which is referred to as “COMPANY ONE,” was working on the creation of self-driving automobiles. According to the indictment, Wang failed to notify Apple of his resignation for more than four months after signing the new employment contract.

After Wang’s keep going day at Apple on April 16, 2018, Apple delegates explored admittance logs recording verifiable movement on Apple’s organization. In the days before Wang left Apple, Apple discovered that he had accessed a significant amount of confidential and sensitive proprietary information.

The indictment details how authorities searched Wang’s Mountain View home on June 27, 2018, and how they found a lot of data that he had taken from Apple before leaving. Wang was available during the hunt and told specialists he had no designs to travel. Nonetheless, Wang purchased a one-way ticket to Guangzhou, China, from San Francisco International Airport and boarded a flight that evening. Law enforcement came to the conclusion, as a result of their subsequent investigation, that Wang had access to Apple’s proprietary and confidential information after he had left the company and while he was working for the COMPANY ONE subsidiary.

The prosecution portrays six classes of proprietary advantages that Wang purportedly took, or endeavored to take, and accuses him of one count of disregarding 18 U.S.C. § 1832(a)(1),(2),(3), and (4) for every classification as follows:

CountDateItem Description
OneOn or about August 11, 2016Entire Autonomy Source Code
TwoOn or about April 18, 2018Tracking for an Autonomous System
ThreeOn or about April 15, 2018Behavior Planner for an Autonomous System
FourOn or about April 14, 2018Architecture Design for an Autonomous System
FiveIn or about April 2018Descriptions of Hardware Systems, Including Architecture, Modules, Power, and Inputs
SixOn or about April 15, 2018Motion Planner for an Autonomous System

All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, and an indictment only makes allegations of crimes. For each count of theft or attempted theft of trade secrets, Wang faces a maximum statutory sentence of ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the scheme’s gross gain or loss. The court may also order a term of supervised release, restitution, or forfeiture, if necessary, as part of any sentence handed down following a conviction. However, the court would consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute that governs the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. 3553, before imposing any sentence following a conviction.

The Unique Arraignments Part of the US Lawyer’s Office for the Northern Region of California is indicting the situation. The arraignment is the aftereffect of an examination by the Government Agency of Examination.

Source – Justice.gov

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