A scheme to illegally export high-grade carbon fiber, which is used primarily in aerospace and military applications, from the U.S. to China was foiled on Friday when Chinese national Fuyi Sun, aka “Frank,” 53, pleaded guilty on Friday to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
“Sun admitted to attempting to procure high-grade carbon fiber, which has sophisticated aerospace and defense applications, for the Chinese military. The defendant was willing to pay a premium to evade U.S. export laws and illegally transfer this highly protected material,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “The National Security Division will continue to identify those who violate IEEPA and other laws that protect our national assets from reaching the hands of potential adversaries.”
According to officials, since approximately 2011, Sun used falsified documents and code words in his efforts to obtain and export this highly protected material without being detected.
High-grade carbon fiber, which is strictly controlled and requires a license for export to China, has applications in aerospace technologies, drones, and other government defense applications, including nuclear non-proliferation and anti-terrorism.
Sun was caught in a sting operation, which was set up by undercover special agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) and went on for years, according to a report from the Justice Department.
When Sun met with the undercover agents, on or about April 11 and 12, he repeatedly suggested that the Chinese military was the ultimate end-user for the M60 Carbon Fiber, and claimed to have personally worked in the Chinese missile program. Sun further asserted that he maintained a close relationship with the Chinese military, had a sophisticated understanding of the Chinese military’s need for carbon fiber, and suggested that he would be supplying the M60 Carbon Fiber to the Chinese military or to institutions closely associated with it.
Sun was arrested the day after he agreed to purchase two cases of M60 Carbon Fiber from the undercover agents, having paid them $23,000 in cash for the carbon fiber, as well as an additional $2,000 as compensation for the risk he believed the UC Company was taking to illegally export the carbon fiber to China without a license.
Sun faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 26.
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