Lying to federal agents, and computer tampering were two of the charges levied against a medical researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where Hua Jun Zhao is accused of stealing a developmental cancer drug for delivery to a university in China; Zhao pleaded not guilty to the theft.
In early April, according to a news item on Bloomberg.com, Zhao was indicted by a federal grand jury held before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Gorence in Milwaukee. Since then, he’s being held in custodity without bail.
Furthermore, the indictment showed that Zhao may have used his position at the medical college to acquire, illegally, the patented material for later delivery to Zhejiang University.
Originally, the 42-year old Zhao was charged with economic espionage in criminal complaint back in late March. A Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman noted in an affidavit that a surveillance camera system revealed that Zhao was the only person coming-and-going from the office; ultimately, it was concluded he was the only one who could'be stolen three vials of the patented material.
The contents in the vials were a “powdery patented substance” that was identified as “C-25.” The vials worth was estimated to be about $8,000.
Recently, the magistrate judge was asked by Assistant US Attorney, Stephen Ingraham, to dismiss the criminal complaint; this, to allow prosecutors the possibility of re-filing “those allegations” at a later time.
Part of the charges have to do with Zhao's tampering with a computer code and command that would have caused damage to the medical college's computer system. That crime itself is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, noted another Bloomerber report on the theft.
The defense attorney for Zhao, Juval Scott. commented to a reporter in a phone interview that he was “looking forward to getting information from the government and starting our own investigation.”