A Chinese national and two co-defendants have been sentenced in connection with an attempt to use false export information to export maritime raiding craft and military-model engines through fraud to China, and in violation of Unites States law.
Ge Songtao, a 51-year-old from Nanjing, China, pleaded guilty to the charges on November 2, 2020, and was sentenced on July 14, 2021, to a three years and six months’ sentence in federal prison. Ge conspired “to submit false export information through the federal government’s Automated Export System and to export maritime raiding craft and engines to China fraudulently.” The attempt at export was “in violation of U.S. law.” Ge agreed to $114,834.27 in an administrative forfeiture, since he had arranged for this much money to be wired to an American manufacturer for the purchase of the engines and raiding craft.
Ge was chairman of the Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. Ltd, which has its headquarters in Shanghai, China. In 2018, Ge started searching for “a source of supply of U.S.-manufactured combat rubber raiding craft equipped with engines that could operate using gasoline, diesel fuel or jet fuel. . .No comparable engine is manufactured in China.” Such craft, with multi-fuel engines, are capable of being launched from submerged submarines and can also be dropped by aircraft into the ocean. They are used by the United States military.
A US-based employee and co-defendant of Ge, Yang Yang, tried to order seven of these raiding craft and multi-fuel engines from a US manufacturer, insisting on the “military-model multi-fuel engines” rather than the cheaper gasoline-fueled engines which the manufacturer suggested. Yang, informed by a Chinese co-worker that US manufacturers are more open to selling to entities in Hong Kong than in mainland China, falsely claimed her customer was United Vision Limited in Hong Kong. In reality, the customer was Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. Ltd. Hence false information, violating federal law, was entered into the Department of Commerce’s Automated Export System.
Ge ensured wire transfers of money to Belt Consulting Company Limited, a separate Hong Kong company, which then wired the sum of $114,834.27 to the American manufacturer. Further seeking to “facilitate” the purchase and export, Ge “coordinated plans to send an employee to Hong Kong to receive the raiding craft and engines and transship them to mainland China.” The plot however failed and, before engines and raiding craft were shipped overseas, Ge and his co-defendants were arrested by authorities.
“On Sept. 15, 2020, Yang pleaded guilty to the same two charges to which Ge pleaded guilty, and on Dec. 9, 2020, was sentenced to a time-served sentence or the equivalent of approximately 14 months’ imprisonment. On Aug. 13, 2020, co-defendant Zheng Yan pleaded guilty to conspiring to submit false export information and to export the raiding craft and engines fraudulently in violation of U.S. law, and on March 31, was sentenced to a time-served sentence or the equivalent of approximately 6 months’ imprisonment and 11 months’ home-detention. The trial of remaining co-defendant, Fan Yang, is scheduled to begin on August 2.”