September 16, 2020 – Yang Yang (34, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to conspiring to submit false export information through the federal government’s Automated Export System and to fraudulently export to China maritime raiding craft and engines in violation of United States (U.S.) law, and also to attempting to fraudulently export that equipment in violation of U.S. law. Yang faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, Yang was employed by Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. Ltd., a company headquartered in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China. At the direction of co-conspirators in China, she attempted to order from a U.S. manufacturer seven combat rubber raiding craft equipped with engines that can operate using gasoline, diesel fuel, or jet fuel. These vessels and multi-fuel engines are used by the U.S. military and can be operated after being launched from a submerged submarine or dropped into the ocean by an aircraft. No comparable engine is manufactured in China. When the U.S. manufacturer suggested that Yang purchase cheaper gasoline-fueled engines, she insisted that she wanted to purchase the military-model multi-fuel engines.
To induce the manufacturer to sell this equipment, Yang falsely represented that her customer was an entity called United Vision Limited in Hong Kong, rather than Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. in Shanghai. One of Yang’s Chinese co-workers had told her that American manufacturers would be more likely to sell to an entity in Hong Kong rather than one in mainland China. By misrepresenting what company was buying the equipment, and where it was located, Yang caused the entry of false information in the Department of Commerce’s Automated Export System in violation of federal law.
When interviewed by federal agents on Oct. 17, 2019, Yang admitted that she had only one client, Shanghai Breeze, and that based on her communications with a co-conspirator, she knew that the combat raiding craft were not intended for Hong Kong, but instead, mainland China.
On Aug. 13, 2020, Yang’s co-defendant, Zheng Yan, also pleaded guilty to conspiring to submit false export information and to fraudulently export the raiding craft and engines in violation of U.S. law. The trial of their remaining co-defendants, Fan Yang and Ge Songtao, is scheduled to begin on Feb. 1, 2021.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce – Bureau of Industry and Security, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Coolican and Heather Schmidt, Senior Trial Attorney, Counterintelligence and Export Section, U.S. Department of Justice.