An adjunct UCLA engineering professor was convicted of illegally exporting computer chips with military applications to China, according to court records obtained Thursday.
Yi-Chi Shih, 63, a part-time Los Angeles resident, was convicted Wednesday following a three-week trial in Los Angeles federal court. The jury is expected to rule next week on the government’s forfeiture request of more than $750,000, according to court records.
Prosecutors said Shih and co-defendant Kiet Ahn Mai — who previously worked together at two different companies — conspired to provide Shih with unauthorized access to a protected computer of a U.S. company that manufactured specialized, high-speed computer chips known as monolithic microwave integrated circuits.
The defendants concealed Shih’s intent to transfer the company’s technology and products to the People’s Republic of China, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The proprietary semiconductor technology at issue has a number of commercial and military applications, and the company’s customers include the Air Force, Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, prosecutors said. Such microwave integrated circuits are used in electronic warfare, electronic warfare countermeasures and radar applications, according to the DOJ.
Mai, 64, of Pasadena, pleaded guilty to a federal smuggling charge and is scheduled for sentencing in downtown Los Angeles in September.