- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 1, 2004

Seven officers and employees of two New Jersey companies were arrested yesterday on charges of using their businesses to illegally transfer sensitive national-security items to state-sponsored research institutes in China.

U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman Dean Boyd said criminal complaints filed in U.S. District Court in Camden, N.J., charge that the officers and employees at two closely held companies, Universal Technologies Inc. (UTI) and Manten Electronics Inc., violated U.S. export laws.

Mr. Boyd said the arrests were the result of a joint investigation by ICE, the FBI and the Commerce Department.

According to the complaints, investigators say those arrested were illegally exporting items used in a wide variety of defense weapons systems, including radar, smart weapons, electronic warfare and communications.

The complaints describe schemes in which the officers and employees used various techniques to conceal their activities, including false statements that recipients were U.S. corporations and improperly certifying shipping documents.

Mr. Boyd said all seven New Jersey residents were arrested yesterday morning at their residences or places of work. Each was taken for an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel B. Rosen at the federal courthouse in Camden. He said investigators executed search warrants for two businesses and three homes in Camden and Burlington counties and seized six bank accounts.

Those charged from Universal Technologies were President Teng Fang Li, 63, of Cherry Hill; Vice President Zhonghe Ji, 41, also of Cherry Hill; and employee Ronge Tong, 37, of Voorhees. Each faces one count of conspiracy, violation of the Export Administration Act regulations and wire fraud.

Charged from Manten were President Xu Weibo, 37; purchasing agent Xiu Ling Chen, 33; Vice President Hao Li Chen, 28; and Controller Kwan Chun Chan, 28, all of Mount Laurel. They face one count each of conspiracy, violation of the Export Administration Act regulations and wire fraud.

Mr. Boyd said the export violations carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and that each count of conspiracy and wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Five of the defendants are naturalized U.S. citizens, and two are legal permanent residents.

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