Los Angeles, CA: The Justice Department announced today that a former engineer at a Southern California company has been arrested on federal charges. The allegations state that he stole trade secret technologies developed for use by the United States government, specifically for detecting nuclear missile launches and tracking ballistic and hypersonic missiles.
A 57-year-old resident of San Jose, California, named Chenguang Gong was taken into custody on Tuesday morning. Gong, originally from China and now a US citizen since 2011, is currently in custody and will have a detention hearing later today.
Gong faces charges in a criminal complaint for allegedly stealing trade secrets. Court documents that were unsealed today reveal that Gong transferred over 3,600 files from a research and development company in the Los Angeles area, where he was employed. These files were moved to personal storage devices during his short time with the company last year.
Gong is accused of transferring files that contain blueprints for advanced infrared sensors used in space-based systems for detecting nuclear missile launches and tracking ballistic and hypersonic missiles. The files also include blueprints for sensors that allow U.S. military aircraft to detect heat-seeking missiles and take countermeasures, such as jamming the missiles’ infrared tracking capability. Later, some of these files were discovered on storage devices that were seized from Gong’s temporary residence in Thousand Oaks, as stated in the affidavit supporting the complaint.
According to the affidavit, Gong was hired by the victim company in January 2023 to work as an application-specific integrated circuit design manager at one of its laboratories. His responsibilities included designing, developing, and verifying infrared sensors. From around March 30, 2023, to his termination on April 26, 2023, Gong moved numerous files from his work laptop to three personal storage devices. This included over 1,800 files after he had accepted a job on April 5, 2023, at one of the victim company’s main competitors.
Gong is accused of transferring numerous files that contain sensitive information regarding the development and design of advanced integrated circuits. These circuits are crucial for space-based systems to detect missile launches and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles, as well as for aircraft to track incoming threats in challenging low-visibility conditions.
Gong is accused of transferring files containing trade secrets related to the development of advanced sensors with improved capabilities and increased survivability in space. These files also included blueprints for the mechanical assemblies used to house and cool the sensors.