Chinese National Charged with Stealing Trade Secrets from a Petroleum Company

TULSA, Okla. – Hongjin Tan, a 35 year old Chinese national and U.S. legal permanent resident, was arrested on Dec. 20 and charged with theft of trade secrets. Tan is alleged to have stolen the trade secrets from his employer, a U.S. petroleum company.

According to the criminal complaint, Tan allegedly stole trade secrets from a U.S.-based petroleum company regarding the manufacture of a “research and development downstream energy market product.” The company’s methods of developing the product are of great value, both economically and to competitors.

Until recently, Tan worked for the petroleum company and allegedly downloaded hundreds of files, including files related to the manufacture of the product. Investigators allege that Tan was offered a job at a company in China where he planned to use these files to benefit his new employer. Tan has been residing in the United States for the past 12 years.

“The value of the trade secrets in this case is estimated to be more than $1 billion dollars. Theft of critical research, development, and other intellectual property harms the economic prosperity and security of the United States,” U.S. Attorney Shores said.

“The theft of intellectual property harms American companies and American workers. As our recent cases show, all too often these thefts involve the Chinese government or Chinese companies,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers.  “The Department recently launched an initiative to protect our economy from such illegal practices emanating from China, and we continue to make this a top priority.”

Tan made an initial appearance Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jodi F. Jayne. A preliminary and detention hearing has been set for Dec. 26.


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