The Chinese engineer is accused of stealing secret from a self-proclaimed secretive vehicle project in Apple, revealing only an open criminal case.
Jizhong Chen was arrested in January, the day before he was booked for a flight to China, where he applied for a job in an autonomous automobile company, according to a criminal report filed this week at the US court in California.
Theft of Chen's business secrets charges a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine.
Chen, an electrical engineer, was hired by Apple in June last year to be part of the hardware design team who worked on an autocompression project in Apple, FBI Adelaide Hernandez said.
Chen received "secret training" in how to avoid leak information, even to family members, and was one of about 1200 "key" employees who had access to the building where the project was targeted, according to complaints.
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In December, Chen made Apple aware that it needed to improve its work performance. The next month, the associate noted Chen taking a photograph of a car project and warned his superiors.
The in-depth investigation found that Chen photographed a secret project and backed up his Apple PC workstation to a personal machine, along with more than 2,000 files, including schemas, manuals, and diagrams, according to complaints.
Chen told Apple that he transferred his work computer to a PC as a "security pole" for job prospects, if his performance improvement plan at Apple ended with its completion, but some photographs date from June, Hernandez said in his submission .
Chen is suspended from work as a result of Apple's internal investigation, and the findings are shared with the FBI.
In July last year, Apple's former engineer was accused of stealing the secret from the hatch-hush self-driving car technology a few days before quitting the Chinese start-up.
Xiaolang Zhang is charged with stealing business secrets from the Apple project, according to a copy of the criminal report published on the Internet.
Two cases did not seem to be related to the submission of Hernandez. Apple last week said it had reduced its autonomous automotive team, but remained committed to technology.