Landmark Tax Group

California Man Sentenced for Espionage

On July 10, 2014, in San Francisco, California, Walter Lian-Heen Liew, aka Liu Yuanxuan, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $27.8 million in illegal profits and to pay $511,667 in restitution. Liew was convicted on March 6, 2014, on violations of the Economic Espionage Act, tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud and obstruction of justice. The jury found that Liew, his company, USA Performance Technology, Inc. (USAPTI), and another individual conspired to steal trade secrets from E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company regarding their chloride-route titanium dioxide (TiO2) production technology and sold those secrets for large sums of money to state-owned companies of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This case marks the first federal jury conviction on charges brought under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996. Liew, as co-owner of USAPTI, entered into contracts worth nearly $28 million to convey TiO2 trade secret technology to Pangang Group companies. Liew received millions of dollars of proceeds from these contracts. The proceeds were wired through the United States, Singapore, and ultimately back into several bank accounts in the PRC in the names of relatives of Christina Liew. Liew, USAPTI, and another individual obtained and sold DuPont’s TiO2 trade secrets to the Pangang Group companies for more than $20 million. Liew filed a false income tax return for his company, Performance Group (a predecessor company to USAPTI) for calendar years 2006, 2007, and 2008 and for USAPTI in 2009 and 2010. In addition, Liew made false statements and a false oath in connection with filing for bankruptcy for Performance Group in 2009. (Source: IRS)

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