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LA Woman Faces 150 Years In Prison For Smuggling Nasa Technology To China

A Los Angeles-area woman was arrested Tuesday by federal agents in a scheme to illegally export sensitive space communications technology to her native China, the U.S. Justice Department announced.

The equipment, worth more than $100,000, included components the government said are commonly used in military communications jammers.

The 14-count indictment described how Si Chen, also known as Cathy Chen, allegedly received payments for the illegal export of products. Payments were allegedly made through a bank account in China held by a family member.

The 32-year-old Chen was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. If convicted of the charges, the defendant faces a statutory maximum penalty of 150 years in prison.
Chen is charged with conspiracy, money laundering, making false statements on an immigration application and using a forged passport. She also is charged with violating the International 
Emergency Economic Powers Act, which dates back to the 1970s and restricts and controls the export of certain technology and goods to foreign countries.

The charges were contained in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on April 27 and unsealed Tuesday after Chen's arrest. The probe began back in 2015 when federal agents intercepted a parcel that contained communications equipment sent by "Chunping Ji," the false name allegedly used by the defendant in the smuggle scheme.

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