Chinese man gets three years in prison for stealing corn seeds

By Stephen Davies

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2016 - A Chinese national who snatched inbred corn seeds from DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto production fields has received a three-year prison sentence for conspiracy to steal trade secrets.

U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose of the Southern District of Iowa also sentenced Mo Hailong, also known as Robert Mo, to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution at a later date. In addition, Rose ordered the forfeiture of two farms in Iowa and Illinois that were bought and used by Mo and others during the course of the conspiracy, the Justice Department said in a news release.

Mo is a Chinese national who became a lawful permanent resident of the United States. According to the plea agreement he signed in January, he took part in a scheme to steal whole ears of corn and inbred corn seeds belonging to the two companies from fields in Illinois and Iowa. Then he and his co-conspirators “transported, or attempted to transport, those inbred seeds to China.”

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Mo was director of international business of the Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co., commonly referred to as DBN, a Chinese conglomerate with a corn seed subsidiary company, Kings Nower Seed.

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“The investigation was initiated when DuPont Pioneer security staff detected suspicious activity and alerted the FBI,” DOJ said. “DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto were fully cooperative throughout the investigation.”

“The theft of agricultural trade secrets, and other intellectual property, poses a grave threat to our national economic security,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel of the Southern District of Iowa. “The Justice Department and federal law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting those who in engage in conduct such as Mo Hailong.”


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