Another Apple engineer accused of stealing autonomous vehicle secrets for China

PHOTO: An Apple logo at a retail location in San Francisco, 2014. REUTERS

For the second time in 6 months, the FBI is accusing a Chinese national engineer who worked for Apple of stealing Apple trade secrets related to self-driving cars, to help a China-based competitor.

Michael Bott, NBC Bay Area:

Apple began investigating Jizhong Chen when another employee reported seeing the engineer taking photographs in a sensitive work space, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed this week.

Chen, according to the complaint, allowed Apple Global Security employees to search his personal computer, where they found thousands of files containing Apple’s intellectual property, including manuals, schematics, and diagrams. Security personnel also found on the computer about a hundred photographs taken inside an Apple building.

Apple learned Chen recently applied for a job at a China-based autonomous vehicle company that is a direct competitor of Apple’s project, according to the complaint. A photo found on Chen’s computer, which Apple provided to the FBI, showed an assembly drawing of an Apple-designed wiring harness for an autonomous vehicle.

Chen was arrested just one day before he was scheduled to fly to China, according to the complaint.

Last July, former Apple employee Xiaolang Zhang was arrested by federal agents for allegedly stealing proprietary information related to the company’s autonomous vehicle project. Zhang was accused of trying to bring Apple’s trade secrets to China-based XMotors.

Read/Watch the full report: 'Another Apple Engineer Accused of Stealing Autonomous Vehicle Trade Secrets'