A Wellesley man from China pleaded guilty in Boston federal court Wednesday to charges of illegally exporting $100,000 worth of anti-submarine devices to a Chinese military university, federal prosecutors say.
Shuren Qin, 44, was arrested and charged in the summer of 2018. He pleaded guilty to ten counts, including conspiracy to unlawfully export objects, visa fraud, money laundering, and smuggling hydrophones to Northwestern Polytechnical University. Hydrophones are devices used to detect and monitor sound underwater.
Beginning around July 2015 and continuing through December 2016, Qin used his company LinkOcean Technologies to help smuggle at least 60 hydrophones to the university without the proper export licenses from the Department of Commerce, according to the Department of Justice.
Officials say he directly communicated with the university to export those items. They say his company didn’t tell the American hydrophone manufacturer where the devices were going and filed false end-user info with the U.S. government.
The Department of Justice also says that Qin engaged in visa fraud in July 2016. He was admitted to the U.S. on an immigrant investor visa program in 2014. Officials say he lied about not committing any crimes since becoming a conditional permanent resident.
They say he also lied to federal agents twice about LinkeOcean’s customers. In a November 2017 interview with Customs and Border Protection, he said he only exported instruments that attach to buoys, but many items he exported have military applications.
He later told investigators in a July 2018 interview that none of his customers were on the DOC’s Entity List, a blacklist of foreign parties deemed as risks to national security. Officials say he exported goods to two Chinese military universities, which are both on the Entity List.
Prosecutors also allege that Qin exported unmanned surface vehicles and robotic boats to Chinese entities between 2015 and 2018, totaling $8 million in goods, according to Reuters. Qin only admitted to the charges of exporting the hydrophones.
Prosecutors agreed to recommend a prison sentence on the low end of the 87 to 108 months he faces, according to Reuters.