Yu's problems began in 2006, when he became an employee with Ford's China division. According to Autonews, citing a Justice Department release, the former employee copied 4,000 Ford documents, including sensitive design documents.
They included design specifications for engine and transmission mounting subsystems, electrical distribution systems and electrical subsystems. With these documents, Yu allegedly tried to get a job with a Chinese auto company in 2008.
The charges facing Yu are quite severe, with each of the theft counts carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. For unauthorized access to a protected computer, he faces 5 years in prison and another $250,000 fine.
"We are aware of the issue and cooperating fully with authorities," Mark Truby, Ford spokesman was quoted as saying by the source. So far, Ford did not comment on whether Yu's alledged actions led to consequences for its business. The Chinese carmaker with whom Yu tried to get a job was not named.
The indictment in the case was filed on July 8, after an FBI investigation. So far, Yu is being held in Chicago and faces a detention hearing on October 20. So far, he was not formally arraigned, nor has he entered a plea.