For a second time, a defendant in a Chinese smuggling case that led to a Jacksonville-based Navy officer’s indictment has been sentenced to time she had already served behind bars.
Zheng Yan, an employee of a Chinese technology company, pleaded guilty in August to conspiring to violate American export laws in a case where investigators gathered information through use of the spy-busting Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger imposed the time-served sentence last week, but the order was only entered in the case docket in Jacksonville’s federal court on Tuesday.
Zheng was an assistant to Ge Songtao, the head of a Chinese company that wanted to ship inflatable rubber “raiding craft” and military-grade motors from American companies into China and hide their destination.
Prosecutors said Ge had a long-term connection to Lt. Fan Yang, who was assigned to a command at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
Ge hired the lieutenant’s wife, Yang Yang, as a consultant to handle his Shanghai Breeze Technology Co.’s business arrangements with American companies and both the lieutenant and his wife were indicted with the businessman and his assistant in 2019.
Ge, Zheng and Yang Yang all took plea deals last year but Fan Yang has pleaded not guilty and Is awaiting trial.
Yang Yang was also given a time-served sentence in December.
Prosecutors issued a new indictment last fall that dropped any claim of export crimes by Fan Yang but charged the lieutenant, who had a top-secret security clearance, with gun crimes and lying during a security review to hide the extent of his connection to the Chinese executive.
Fan Yang’s trial date has changed but is currently scheduled for August.
Prosecutors told Schlesinger this year that Zheng could be a material witness in the lieutenant’s trial and arranged for her to give a deposition because she’s expected to return to China before the trial.
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