LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – Two Southern California family members originally from the People’s Republic of China were indicted today by a grand jury on charges of lying to the government and acting as agents of the People’s Republic of China.
Fuk Heung Li, 48, and her son, Billy Yui Mak, 26, were charged with failing to register as agents of a foreign government and making false statements to federal authorities.
The indictment was announced this afternoon by United States Attorney Debra Wong Yang; J. Stephen Tidwell, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles; and John Cooper, Special Agent in Charge, Southwest Field Office, Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Following the return of the indictment this afternoon by a federal grand jury in Santa Ana, Billy Mak was arrested this afternoon in Alhambra without incident.
Fuk Li, an Alhambra resident who was previously indicted on federal marriage fraud charges and is free on bond, will be issued a summons directing her to appear for an arraignment in this case on July 3.
In November 2005, Tai Mak, 56, husband of Fuk Li and father of Billy Mak, was charged with failing to register as an agent of a foreign government (see: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pr2005/154.html). Tai Mak is currently in custody, awaiting trial, which is currently scheduled for November 7. Tai Mak’s older brother, Chi Mak, 65, and Chi Mak’s wife, Rebecca Laiwah Chiu, 62, were also indicted for failing to register as agents of a foreign government. The indictment returned today supersedes the November 2005 indictment and adds Fuk Li and Billy Mak as defendants.
Court documents previously filed in this case allege that unidentified co-conspirators from the PRC provided Chi Mak with “tasking lists” that requested specific defense information, including sensitive areas of U.S. Naval research concerning nuclear-powered submarines. The lists allegedly contained instructions for Chi Mak to participate in seminars and then compile the information he obtained at the seminars onto computer disks.
Chi Mak, an engineer a U.S. Navy defense contractor, allegedly collected technical information about the U.S. Navy’s current and future warship technologies. This information was sensitive and subject to restriction regarding its distribution, storage and handling. According to court documents, Chi Mak and his wife allegedly copied the information intended for the PRC onto CD-ROM disks, which were then given to Tai Mak. Billy Mak then allegedly encrypted the defense data onto a CD-ROM disk in preparation for surreptitious delivery to the PRC.
This CD-ROM was hidden in luggage on October 28, 2005 when Fuk Li and Tai Mak attempted to board a flight to the PRC at Los Angeles International Airport. Tai Mak and Fuk Li were arrested at the airport, while Chi Mak and Rebecca Chiu were arrested at their home.
The indictment charges that Fuk Li and Billy Mak both made false statements to FBI and NCIS agents regarding their knowledge of the encrypted disk seized at LAX.
The charge of failing to register as a foreign agent carries a maximum possible penalty of 10 years in federal prison. The charge of making false statements to federal investigators carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in federal prison.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation was conducted jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Gregory Staples
Assistant United States Attorney Craig H. Missakian
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller
NCIS Public Affairs Office, Ed Buice