PROVIDENCE – Tao Jiang, the president and owner of Broad Tech System, Inc., a California-based electronics distribution company, today admitted to a federal judge in Providence that he and his company participated in a conspiracy to conceal information from the U.S. Department of Commerce and from U.S. Customs and Border Protection as part of a scheme to illegally export chemicals manufactured and/or distributed by a Rhode Island-based company to a technology company in China with ties to the Chinese military, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
Tao Jiang, aka Jason Jiang, 53, of Riverside, CA, and Broad Tech Systems, Inc., pleaded guilty as charged by way of indictment to conspiracy, violation of the Export Control Act, and money laundering conspiracy.
Jiang and Broad Tech System admitted that they conspired together and with Bohr Winn-Shih, an engineer employed at Broad Tech System, to order the chemicals Photoresist and HPRD (Developer) from a North Kingstown-based manufacturer, then knowingly submitted false and misleading documentation to the U.S. Government and to shipping companies in an effort to have those products illegally shipped to a company in China, in violation of the Export Control Reform Act.
The intended recipient of the shipment, a state-owned Chinese entity in Nanjing, China, mainly engages in the manufacturing of electronic components and the research, development and production of core chips and key components in China’s military strategic early warning systems, air defense systems, airborne fire control systems, manned space systems, and other national large-scale projects. Photoresist and HPRD are essential to the chip manufacturing process.
The Chinese company is on a U.S. government list of businesses that are not permitted to receive products manufactured in the United States.
In October 2018, the Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center alerted the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) of an intended export of 58 gallons of Photoresist to the China-based company. The product was returned to the manufacturer. Several days after the shipment was halted, the Rhode Island manufacturer received a call from Jiang, acting on behalf of Broad Tech System, seeking to purchase 94 gallons of Photoresist, and asking that it be shipped to a different China-based company. The manufacturer communicated to DOC agents that they found this to be suspicious because they had not done business with Broad Tech in the past; the quantity of Photoresist ordered was unusually significant; and the request came just days after the first shipment had been recalled. It was determined by DOC agents that Jiang, Shih and Broad Tech concealed the intended recipient, and that the shipment’s final destination was actually the Nanjing-based company controlled by the Chinese government.
According to information presented to the court, on January 29, 2019, Broad Tech received a wire transfer of $65,984 to its bank account within the United States, representing payment for the 58 gallons of Photoresist. It was determined that the wire transfer originated from an account controlled by the Nanjing, China-based company.
Jiang and Broad Tech System are scheduled to be sentenced on April 11, 2023. The defendants’ sentences will be determined by a federal district judge after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Bohr Winn-Shih, 65, of Ontario, CA, pleaded guilty on May 11, 2021. Winn-Shih was sentenced on August 3, 2021, to one year of probation.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul F. Daly, Jr.
The matter was investigated by the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.