(FiveNation.com)- A Chinese national was sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison on Saturday for conspiring to submit false export information through the Department of Commerce’s Automatic Export System in order to fraudulently export maritime raiding craft and engines to China in violation of US law.
As part of his plea agreement, Ge Songtao, 51, of Nanjing, China, agreed to the administration forfeiture of $114,834.27 – the amount wired to a US manufacturer to purchase the raiding craft and engines.
At the sentencing hearing, US District Judge Harvey Schlesinger found that Ge Songtao knowingly bought the engines in order to reverse-engineer them, then supply his own version to the Chinese military. Judge Schlesinger also found that, after being charged in the case, the defendant attempted to obstruct the proceedings in multiple ways – including soliciting an associate in China to manufacture false documents to present to the court.
In 2018, Ge Songtao, at the time the chairman of Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. Ltd, sought to find a supplier of US-manufactured combat rubber raiding craft that could operate using gasoline, diesel fuel or jet fuel. The US military uses such vessels and multi-fuel engines that can be launched from a submerged submarine or dropped into the ocean by an aircraft. The Chinese have no comparable technology.
Ge Songtao pleaded guilty on November 2, 2020.
A US-based employee of Ge Songtao, co-defendant Yang Yang, attempted to order seven of the raiding craft and engines from a US manufacturer. Yang falsely represented that her customer was a Hong Kong entity called United Vision Limited and by doing so caused the entry of false information in the Automated Export System in violation of federal law.
On September 15, 2020, Yang Yang pleaded guilty to the same two charges Ge Songtao pleaded guilty for. And on December 9. Yang was sentenced to time-served.
In late March of this year, another co-defendant, Zheng Yan, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to submit false export information and fraudulently exporting the raiding craft and engines, was sentenced to time-served and eleven months’ home-detention.
The trial of one final co-defendant, Fan Yang is scheduled to begin on August 2, 2021.