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Corning scientist indicted on economic espionage charges, accused of violating International Emergency Economic Powers Act

A former lead scientists for Corning Inc. was arraigned this week after a federal grand jury returned an indictment- charging him with economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

Court documents allege that Ji Wang, 59, worked for Corning Inc. from 1998 to 2019 and was assigned to work as the lead scientist on a fiber laser research and development project initiated by DARPA, or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The $16 million applied research project resulted in a 1000-fold increase in power for the fiber lasers. The DARPA project also resulted in a large accumulation of non-public, technical and scientific information regarding the methods and processes used to produce the fiber lasers.

That’s the information that prosecutors say was trade secret- controlled for export by the U.S. government.

“We can confirm that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York announced an indictment of a former employee for theft of Corning Incorporated’s trade secrets relating to a project with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency,” Corning Inc. said in a statement. “As a company built on 170 years of innovation and integrity, Corning takes the protection and defense of its intellectual property very seriously. We will continue to monitor the case and cooperate with law enforcement as appropriate.”