A Canadian-Chinese citizen was charged in US District Court in Boston Thursday for allegedly trying to steal trade secrets from a Raynham technology company, authorities said.
Dong Liu, 44, was arrested after the CEO of Medrobotics spotted him Monday night sitting alone in a conference room at the company’s headquarters with what appeared to be three open laptops.
Liu was charged with one count of attempted theft of trade secrets and one count of attempted access to a computer without authorization and in excess of authorized access with the intent to obtain information from a protected computer, according to the statement.
He was detained following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston Thursday afternoon.
Liu is due back in federal court for a detention and probable cause hearing on Sept. 6.
Prosecutors allege Liu gained access to a secured Medrobotics conference room Monday evening and lied about what he was doing there when confronted by the company’s CEO.
When asked who he was there to visit, Liu named three different employees, including the chief executive, “which the CEO knew not to be true,” the US Attorney’s office said in a statement.
Liu also claimed to be working with a Chinese patent law firm. The CEO called Raynham police, who arrested Liu for trespassing.
“In this case, the CEO of Medrobotics did the right thing by noticing something out of place and alerting police,” said Raynham Police Chief James Donovan in a statement.
Liu was also found to possess equipment that could be used to obtain data from computer networks and to record documents and products, federal prosecutors said.
A preliminary investigation has indicated that Liu had previously contacted Medrobotics employees through the social network LinkedIn, according to authorities. Liu also gave conflicting explanations about how he entered the building, prosecutors said.
“Further investigation will be required to reveal whether Liu’s attempts to obtain computer information or trade secrets were successful,” said the US Attorney’s Office in a statement.
Medrobotics manufactures and markets a robot-assisted device that “provides surgeons with access to, and visualization of, hard-to-reach places in the human body for minimally invasive surgery,” according to statements from Raynham police and federal prosecutors.
The company, according to those authorities, has invested millions in technology that is not yet patented.