By Associated Press - Wednesday, September 16, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A Florida woman has been convicted in a scheme to buy and ship inflatable military boats from the United States to China.

Yang Yang, 34, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Jacksonville federal court to conspiring to submit false export information to fraudulently export to China maritime raiding craft and engines and to attempting to fraudulently export that equipment, according to court records.

She faces up to 15 years in prison. No sentencing date was immediately announced.

Yang was employed by a Chinese company called Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. Ltd. when she attempted to order seven combat rubber raiding craft equipped with engines that can operate using gasoline, diesel fuel or jet fuel, according to the plea agreement. These vessels and multi-fuel engines are used by the U.S. military and can be launched from a submarine or dropped by an aircraft. No comparable engine is manufactured in China.

When the U.S. manufacturer suggested that Yang purchase cheaper gasoline-fueled engines, she insisted on the military-model multi-fuel engines, prosecutors said. Yang falsely told the manufacturer that her customer was based in Hong Kong rather than Shanghai, fearing the U.S. company would be less likely to sell to a company in mainland China, officials said.

One of Yang’s co-conspirators, Zheng Yan, pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to submit false export information. A trial for two remaining co-defendants, Fan Yang and Ge Songtao, is scheduled for next year.

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