Scientist pleads not guilty to stealing secrets for China

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A former scientist at Sandia National Labs in New Mexico has pleaded not guilty to charges of stealing research to share with China.

Jianyu Huang was arraigned Tuesday on five counts of federal program fraud and one count of false statements. He is accused of embezzling and sharing information from his position with the lab’s Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies since 2009, according to a federal indictment.

Elizabeth Martinez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of New Mexico, said Wednesday that Huang will remain in federal custody until he meets release conditions.

Authorities said he passed off nanotechnology research that belongs to the U.S. as his own. The indictment alleges he went online to share the data with state-run schools in China, including Peking University and the Harbin Institute of Technology.

The false statement charge stems from Huang lying to a lab counterintelligence officer about taking a lab-owned laptop on a trip to China, prosecutors said. Sandia employees are required to submit to interviews before any international business travel. They also are prohibited from bringing any lab-owned equipment without approval.

Sandia Lab said in a statement that Huang was fired in April for violating procedures and he never had access to classified national security information. Among Sandia’s objectives is ensuring the security of the nation’s nuclear stockpile and addressing threats to national security.

A message left for Huang’s public defender, Brian Pori, was not immediately returned.

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