The U.S. Attorney’s Office today unsealed a criminal complaint charging Jonathan Yet Wing Soong of San Jose with smuggling and violating export control laws.
U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds said Soong, 34, secretly funneled sensitive aeronautics software to a Beijing university. Soong made his initial appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero.
The allegations against Soong were set out in a complaint filed May 23 that was unsealed May 26. According to the complaint, Soong was employed by Universities Space Research Association between April 2016 and September 2020 as a program administrator.
USRA is a nonprofit corporation contracted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to, among other things, distribute domestically and internationally sensitive aeronautics-related software developed through the Army’s Software Transfer Agreement (STA) program.
As a USRA program administrator, Soong was responsible for overseeing certain software license sales, conducting export compliance screening of customers, generating software licenses, and, on occasion, physically exporting software, according to prosecutors.
Soong is alleged to have been trained in and been aware of export compliance rules which, among other things, restrict sales and exports to certain entities.The complaint alleges Soong unlawfully and without a license exported and facilitated the sale and transfer of software to Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA), which is also known as Beihang University.
According to the complaint, Beihang University was added to the restricted list because of the university’s involvement in People’s Republic of China military rocket systems and unmanned air vehicle systems. The university is prohibited from receiving certain items without a license.
The complaint alleges Soong used an intermediary in hopes that the illegal transfer would not be detected.
At issue in the case is a software package that is marketed for the development of unmanned aircraft, according to prosecutors. The Army flight-control software packages performed as a tool to allow a user to develop a model of an aircraft based on collective flight test data, which could be used to analyze and design aircraft control systems.
Soong’s next scheduled appearance is set for June 2.