The Federal Bureau of Investigation charged a 49-year-old Libertyville resident with theft of trade secrets on July 1, according to a press release.
FBI agents took Chunlai Yang into custody without incident at the CME office, 550 W. Washington St., Chicago, where Yang worked as a senior software engineer.
Yang is charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of theft of trade secrets, which is a felony offense. If convicted, Yang faces a sentence of as much as 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
According to the complaint, Yang has been employed at CME since 2000, and is responsible for writing computer code. Beginning in May, CME security personnel began monitoring Yang’s computer activity. They discovered that thousands of files had been downloaded to his computer, and some then were copied to removable storage devices, such as “thumb drives.” Many of the downloaded files were critical to the operation of the CME group and are considered proprietary in nature and contain protected source code.
Subsequent investigation by the FBI determined that Yang also had been in email contact with the assistant director of the Logistics and Trade Bureau for the Zhangiagang Free Trade Zone. One of the emails sent by Yang contained an attachment, which was a CME document containing protected source code and proprietary information.
It also was determined that Yang had booked travel to China on a commercial airline flight, scheduled to depart from O’Hare International Airport on July 7.
Yang appeared before Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason in Chicago on July 2. He was ordered held without bond, pending a July 6 court appearance.
Information provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.