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Chicago Engineer Accused of Stealing Train Maker's Trade Secrets

Chicago’s history is inextricably linked with the history of the railroad. More lines of track radiate from Chicago than from any other city. Our hometown is the interchange point for freight traffic and the hub of Amtrak.

When allegations of wrongdoing in the Chicago railroad industry surface, they are taken seriously by city, state and federal officials. A suburban software engineer for a locomotive manufacturer was recently charged by federal prosecutors of stealing trade secrets and sharing them with the company in China where he now works.

Fifty-seven-year-old Xudong “William” Yao was charged with nine counts of trade secret theft, prosecutors said when the indictment was recently released. Yao was born in China but is a naturalized American citizen.

The FBI said he allegedly stole copies of 3,000 electronic files containing proprietary information and source code. The suburban locomotive manufacturer was not identified in the documents.

Prosecutors claim that the thefts began just two weeks after he began working for the company back in 2014. He was later hired by a firm in China (also not identified) that creates GPS-location systems. He allegedly took copies of the source code and information about utilization of the code.

Officials said they believe that Yao is currently living in China.

The FBI noted in a statement about the indictment that the accusations are “not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” The agency also noted that trade secret theft is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, if the accused is convicted.

Contact a Chicago attorney experienced in federal white collar crime defense if you believe you are under investigation or have been charged.

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Darryl A. Goldberg
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Chicago, IL 60602

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