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Chinese National gets three year sentence in seed corn conspiracy

October 18, 2016
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

A conspiracy case which began in a farm field near Dysart in northeastern Tama County ended up with a Chinese National sentenced to a U.S. federal prison term

Mo Hailong, also known as Robert Mo, 46, will serve three years in prison followed by a three-year supervisory period according to the sentence handed down on Oct. 5 in U.S. District Court in Des Moines by Judge Stephanie M. Rose.

In addition, the court ordered the forfeiture of two farms, in Iowa and Illinois, that were purchased and utilized by Mo Hailong and others during the course of the conspiracy.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Des Moines said Hailong entered in to a plea agreement on Jan. 27 in which he said he had been engaged in a long-term conspiracy to steal trade secrets from Dupont Pioneer and Monsanto.

According to a news release from the U.S. District Attorney's Office, "during the course of the conspiracy, Mo Hailong was employed as the Director of International Business of the Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Company, commonly referred to as DBN. DBN is a Chinese conglomerate with a corn seed subsidiary company, Kings Nower Seed. Mo Hailong is a Chinese national who became a lawful permanent resident of the United States."

In the plea agreement entered on January 27, 2016, Mo Hailong admitted to participating in a long-term conspiracy to steal trade secrets from DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto. Mo Hailong participated in the theft of inbred corn seeds from fields in the Southern District of Iowa and elsewhere for the purpose of transporting the seeds to DBN in China. The stolen inbred, or parent, seeds were the valuable trade secrets of DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto.

It was reported on Jan. 4, 2014, six Chinese Nationals including Hailong were indicted for conspiracy to steal trade secrets from U.S. seed companies.

First Discovered in Tama County

The case originated when Mo Hailong was observed digging in a the Pioneer field near Dysart. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in an earlier news release, the investigation was initiated when Dupont Pioneer security staff detected suspicious activity, and alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Dupont Pioneer, Monsanto and their staff have been fully cooperative throughout the investigation, which is being led by the FBI.

"Mo Hailong stole valuable proprietary information in the form of seed corn from DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto in an effort to transport such trade secrets to China. Theft of trade secrets is a serious federal crime, as it harms victim companies that have invested millions of dollars and years of work toward the development of propriety technology. The theft of agricultural trade secrets, and other intellectual property, poses a grave threat to our national economic security," said United States Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel. "The Justice Department and federal law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting those who in engage in conduct such as Mo Hailong."

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Iowa and the National Security Division's Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, with assistance from the Department's Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section."



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