LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Chinese businessman was sentenced to nearly four years in prison Wednesday for conspiring to export sensitive military information to China after accessing the computer systems of U.S. defense contractors, including Boeing.
Su Bin was sentenced to 46 months in prison in federal court in Los Angeles. He had faced 30 years in prison before reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors in March. His attorneys were requesting two and a half years.
The 51-year-old Bin admitted to conspiring with two unnamed hackers in China to export U.S. military information to the communist nation between 2008 and 2014, according to Bin’s plea agreement.
The men targeted fighter jets such as the F-22 and the F-35, as well as Boeing’s C-17 military cargo aircraft program, according to court records.
Su, described by prosecutors as a China-based businessman in the aviation and aerospace fields, was arrested in British Columbia, Canada, in July 2014 and brought to the U.S. in February.
As part of the conspiracy, prosecutors say Su would email the hackers in China explaining what people, companies and technology to target. Once data was stolen, prosecutors say Su would translate it from English to Chinese, and email the value of the information to those who benefited from its theft.
A report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission last year found that China’s increasing use of cyber espionage has already cost U.S. companies tens of billions of dollars in lost sales and expenses in repairing the damage from hacking. In many cases, the report by the federal commission says stolen trade secrets have been turned over to Chinese government-owned companies.