Florida woman pleads guilty to acting as illegal agent of Chinese government

Amin Yu, 54, of Orlando, Florida, pleaded guilty today to acting in the United States as an illegal agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General and conspiring to commit international money laundering.

The plea agreement was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida.

“Amin Yu admitted to secretly serving as an agent of the Chinese government,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Yu obtained and illegally exported items and technology related to marine submersible vehicles at the direction and control of a state-owned entity in China.  Protecting our national assets by disrupting efforts by foreign governments to steal sensitive equipment and technology will continue to be a high priority of the National Security Division.”

A U.S. Navy Bluefin-21 Underwater Drone
A U.S. Navy Bluefin-21 Underwater Drone

“Amin Yu made hundreds of thousands of dollars by acting covertly in Orlando on behalf of the Chinese government and by skirting U.S. export laws and regulations,” said U.S. Attorney Bentley.  “The enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations related to the national security of the United States remains a top priority for our office.”

According to the plea agreement, from at least 2002 until February 2014, at the direction of co-conspirators working for Harbin Engineering University (HEU), a state-owned entity in the People’s Republic of China, Yu obtained systems and components for marine submersible vehicles from companies in the United States.  She then illegally exported those items to the PRC for use by her co-conspirators in the development of marine submersible vehicles – unmanned underwater vehicles, remotely operated vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles – for HEU and other state-controlled entities.  Yu illegally exported items by failing to file electronic export information (EEI), as required by U.S. law, and by filing false EEI.  In particular, Yu completed and caused the completion of export-related documents in which she significantly undervalued the items that she had exported and provided false end user information for those items.

Yu faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for acting as an illegal agent of a foreign government and up to 20 years in prison for conspiring to commit money laundering.  A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 29, 2016.


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