Ohio Medical Researcher Sentenced To 33 Months For Stealing Trade Secrets To China

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Gabrielle Temaat Contributor
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An Ohio hospital researcher was sentenced to prison Monday for stealing trade secrets and selling them to China, according to the Department of Justice.

Yu Zhou pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 33 months in prison for stealing trade secrets from Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Research Institute. He had also made plans to carry out wire fraud, according to the DOJ.

“Yu Zhou sought to exploit U.S. taxpayer dollars intended to fund critical, life-saving research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital through the whole-sale theft of their trade secrets,” said Justice Department Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers, according to the statement.

“Zhou’s greed was encouraged and enabled by a series of Chinese Government programs which incentivize thievery in an attempt to supplement China’s own research and development goals on the back of American ingenuity and investment.”

“Yu Zhou willingly took part in the Chinese Government’s long-term efforts to steal American intellectual property,” said U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel, according to The DOJ. (RELATED: Judge Fines Chinese Company $1.5 Million For Stealing Trade Secrets)

Zhou and his wife worked in separate labs for 10 years and co-conspired to profit from stolen American research. Zhou’s research involved a highly technical part of a eukaryotic cell (a cell that contains a nucleus) called an exosome. Zhou used a method of exosome isolation to create isolation kits to sell in China. Exosomes play a vital role in identifying and treating many medical conditions, according to the DOJ.

Zhou’s wife, Li Chen, was sentenced to 30 months in prison in February, the DOJ reported.

The couple will be forced to give up $1.45 million in shares of Avalon GloboCare Corp. stocks and pay $2.6 million in restitution, the DOJ reported.