A Pomona woman who participated in a scheme to smuggle space and military technology to her native China was sentenced Monday to more than five years in federal prison.
Si Chen, 33, was sentenced to 46 moths in federal prison. Chen, also known as Cathy Chen, pleaded guilty in July to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which restricts the export of specific goods and technology, money laundering and using a forged passport made to look as if it were issued by China.
Chen bought and smuggled the military technology, commonly known as “jammers,” to her native China from March 2013 through the end of 2015. The communications devices were worth more than $100,000.
“This is a tragic case,” Chen’s attorney Adam H. Braun said Monday. “Ms. Chen is a mother of a young child and was just beginning her career as an accountant. She made the mistake of agreeing to help a woman in China buy and ship electronic parts in exchange for a few hundred dollars per shipment and the promise they might one day do business together. As a recent immigrant, she hoped to develop business relationships which made her an easy target.
“The Court recognized Ms. Chen was used by the Chinese buyer and gave Ms. Chen a sentencing break for being a minor participant in the Chinese efforts to buy the electronic parts. Ms. Chen is extremely remorseful and has paid a terrible price for her error in judgment.”