GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A chemist has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for stealing trade secrets belonging to Eastman Chemical Company and other companies.
A federal judge in Greeneville sentenced Xiaorong You, aka Shannon You, 59 of Lansing, Michigan, to 168 months in prison, ordered her to serve three years of supervised release, and pay a $200,000 fine.
You was convicted in April 2021 of conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, conspiracy to commit economic espionage, possession of stolen trade secrets, economic espionage, and wire fraud.
According to federal prosecutors, You stole trade secrets related to formulations for bisphenol-A-free (BPA-free) coatings for the inside of drink cans for the purpose of establishing a can-coating manufacturer in China. She was granted access to the trade secrets while working for Coca-Cola in Atlanta and Eastman in Kingsport.
Prosecutors said she stole trade secrets that belonged to several companies, including Akzo-Nobel, BASF, Dow Chemical, PPG, Toyochem, Sherwin Williams, and Eastman, that cost nearly $120 million to develop.
According to the Department of Justice, You and her Chinese corporate partner, Weihai Jinhong Group, received millions of dollars in Chinese government grants to support the new company.
“As the evidence at trial showed, the defendant stole valuable trade secrets and intended to use them to benefit not only a foreign company, but also the government of China,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division said in a release. “Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness of this offense, as well as the Department of Justice’s commitment to protect our nation’s security by investigating and prosecuting those who steal U.S. companies’ intellectual property.”
You was employed as the principal engineer for global research from Coca-Cola from December 2012 through August 2017, according to prosecutors. She worked as a packaging application development manager for Eastman from September 2017 through June 2018.