Agents from the FBI arrested a man in Lexington County on Thursday morning after a warrant was issued for him from western New York state.
Yi Liu, 40, stands accused of stealing trade secrets from Sprung-brett RDI, a company in New York that worked on a motor that could be used in an Ohio-class nuclear submarine and fighter jets by the Air Force and Navy.
The warrant alleges Liu stole documents in relation to this motor "for the purpose of using it for his economic benefit and to the benefit of others."
That benefit would include obtaining a "much higher paying position" with Gamesa Energy US, a company in Virginia, and Apex in Lexington County.
Liu worked as an engineer at Sprung-brett RDI for 5 years, but mostly worked remotely from his home in Ontario, Canada. He left the company in February 2011.
According to the warrant, Sprung-brett officials repeatedly asked Liu to return a laptop and external hard drive that was provided to him by the company, but he did not return it until almost 7 months later.
The warrant goes on to say Sprung-brett officials tried to contact Liu for an exit interview, but he seemed "evasive."
Following the return of the laptop and external drive, Sprung-brett officials contacted the FBI and had the devices analyzed.
FBI investigators discovered that approximately 277,000 files had been accessed, downloaded, copied, or transferred in the 7 month period Liu was not employed with Sprung-brett, according to the warrant.
Liu is currently detained at the Lexington County Detention Center awaiting a federal hearing. That hearing is likely to be some time next week.
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