Chi Mak listens to testimony in this April 10 artist’s drawing during his trial in federal court in Santa Ana, Calif.
Jury sides with government
After a six-week trial, a federal jury convicted a Chinese-born engineer of conspiring to export U.S. defense technology to China, including data on an electronic propulsion system that could make submarines virtually undetectable.
Friends and colleagues knew Chi Mak as an unassuming, brilliant man who worked 12-hour days as an engineer for a defense contractor, rarely went out and scrimped to pay off his 700-square-foot suburban home.
Federal prosecutors portrayed Mak as a polished agent for the Chinese who used his low-key lifestyle and good reputation as a cover for his real work — conspiring to pass U.S. secrets for more than two decades.
The jury sided with the government Thursday, also finding Mak guilty of acting as an unregistered foreign agent, attempting to violate export control laws and making false statements to the FBI.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Staples said Mak faces up to 45 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 10.