A Lexington man was acquitted on 18 charges Thursday by a federal grand jury but found guilty of a single count of possessing a stolen trade secret — a microchip design taken from a Wilmington company he had worked for that he used to manufacture a “knock-off” version for his own firm, officials said.
Haoyang Yu, 43, faces up to 10 years of prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for his conviction in federal court in Boston on the trade secret charge, which US Attorney Rachael Rollins’s office called “the first-ever conviction following a criminal trial of this kind in the District of Massachusetts” in a statement Saturday.
Yu’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15.
He was acquitted on 18 charges, including wire fraud, immigration fraud, export violations, and 11 other counts of possessing stolen trade secrets, according to his lawyers, William Fick and Daniel Marx, who claim Yu was targeted by federal prosecutors because of his race and vowed Saturday to appeal his conviction.
Yu’s attorneys had sought to have the charges dismissed before the month-long trial, arguing that Yu had been the subject of “unlawful profiling and targeting ... based on his Chinese ethnicity,” Fick and Marx said in a statement. A ruling on that motion is pending, they said.
“We are grateful to the jury, which repudiated the bulk of the prosecution’s case, finding Mr. Yu not guilty on 18 of 19 charges,” Fick and Marx said in the statement. “We have always contended, and the jury agreed, that Mr. Yu did not commit any wire fraud, immigration fraud, or export violations.”
Prosecutors said Yu worked for Analog Devices Inc., a semiconductor company with headquarters in Wilmington, from 2014 to 2017 as an engineer designing microchips for the communications, defense, and aerospace industries.
Yu had access to the company’s “present and future microchip designs, including their schematic files, design layout files and manufacturing files,” and obtained a prototype design of a microchip known as the HMC1022A, which is used in aerospace and defense applications, prosecutors said.
Yu used the prototype to manufacture a version of the chip for his own company, Tricon MMIC LLC — which he started while still working for ADI — and began selling them before ADI released its chip, prosecutors said.