A federal grand jury this week indicted the owner of a California company on charges that he and his company schemed to illegally export chemicals made in Rhode Island to a business with ties to the Chinese military.
Broad Tech System Inc., an Ontario, Cali.-based semiconductor equipment and technology company; its CEO and president Tao Jiang, and Bohr Winn-Shih, an equipment engineer, are accused of conspiring to purchase HiPR 6517 Photoresist and HPRD 441 Developer from a Rhode Island manufacturer and then provide false information to the U.S. government and shipping companies to illegally ship the chemicals to a company in China, in violation of the Export Control Reform Act, according to U.S. Attorney Aaron Weisman’s office.
Authorities say that the Chinese company is believed to be involved in the procurement of materials and technology for use by that country’s military. U.S. export regulations restrict the exportation of materials that could contribute significantly to the military potential of other nations or compromise U.S. foreign policy or national security. Photoresist and HPRD are essential in the chip manufacturing process.
The indictment charges Broad Tech, Jiang, 50, of Riverside, California, and Winn-Shih, 63, of Ontario, California, with conspiracy, violation of the Export Control Reform Act, and money laundering conspiracy.
Jiang, who is known as “Jason Jiang”; Broad Tech; and Winn-Shih are accused of providing false information in an effort to ship the chemicals to Nanjing, China-based Electronics Technology Group Corporation 55th Research Institute, which also goes by Nanjing Electronic Devices Institute, CETC Research Institute 55, NEDI, and NEDTEK.
That company is state-owned and primarily manufactures electronic components and produces core chips and components used in China’s military strategic early warning systems, air defense systems, airborne fire control systems, manned space systems, and other national large-scale projects, according to Weisman’s office.
According to the indictment, in October 2018, the Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center alerted a U.S. Department of Commerce agent to the intended export of 58 gallons of Photoresist to NEDI.
The shipment was halted and agents told the Rhode Island manufacturer, which is not identified in the indictment, that NEDI is on a government list of Chinese companies that U.S companies are barred from exporting to. The product was returned to the manufacturer.
Several days later, Jiang, working with Winn-Shih, called the Rhode Island company seeking to buy 94 gallons of Photoresist and some Developer to be shipped to NTESY, in Nanjing. The manufacturer contacted commerce officials to tell them that they viewed it as suspicious because they had never done business with Broad Tech and 94 gallons was a significant quantity of Photoresist to be ordered just days after the previous shipment was recalled..
Records established that Jiang, Shih and Broad Tech allegedly used NTESY to conceal that NEDI was the intended recipient, authorities said.
According to the indictment, in January and May 2019, Jiang, Shih, and Broad Tech also provided false information to a California freight companies about the intended recipient of 58 gallons of Photoresist.
Authorities alleged that Broad Tech received a wire transfer of $65,984 in January 2019 into its U.S. bank account purporting to be from NTESY Technology Co.,for Photoresist. Investigators tracked that transfer instead to NEDI.
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