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Ex-Arlington Heights man charged with economic espionage
By Barbara Vitello | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 6/26/2009 4:43 PM | Updated: 6/26/2009 6:15 PM

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A federal grand jury indicted former Arlington Heights resident David Yen Lee on charges he stole trade secrets to divulge to a competitor.

The indictment, which U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald announced Friday, charges Lee with five counts of economic espionage.

According to the indictment, the 52-year-old Lee worked as technical director of new product development for the Wheeling branch of Valspar Corp., a Minneapolis-based paint company, from 2006 to March 2009.

According to the indictment, Lee downloaded documents and data from Valspar and its China subsidiary, Huarun Ltd., to an external thumb drive authorities found during a March search of Lee's home on the 400 block of West Rand Road in Arlington Heights.

Lee abruptly resigned from Valspar in mid-March, shortly after purchasing a one-way ticket to Shanghai, authorities say. He was arrested later that month - the day before he was scheduled to leave the United States for China, where he was to begin a new job developing paint products April 1. Free on bond since his arrest, Lee has been living in Great Neck, N.Y.

If convicted, he could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count in the indictment. He is scheduled to appear in federal court for his arraignment on July 7.