TULSA — Hongjin Tan pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to committing theft of trade secrets from his employer.
Investigators say Tan used a thumb drive to copy hundreds of files.
His job at the company was to develop next generation battery technologies for stationary energy storage.
Tan’s LinkedIn profile lists his employer as Phillips 66 in Bartlesville.
Prosecutors say the defendant stole information on a development downstream energy market product worth more than $1 billion.
“Industrial spies like Hongjin Tan engage in espionage to steal American trade secrets and intellectual property born out of the innovation that is innate in our free market system,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
"Trade secret theft is a serious crime which hurts American businesses and taxpayers,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Melissa Godbold of the Oklahoma City Field Office.
Sentencing is set for Feb. 12, 2020.