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Former Clarksville man sentenced to 15 months in prison in federal fraud scheme

A 51-year-old Chinese man who is a naturalized U.S. citizen and former Clarksville resident was sentenced Monday to more than a year in prison for impersonating a federal employee as part of a scheme to take U.S. technology to China, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Zhenchun "Ted" Huang — who had worked from 1995 until 2003 as a contract scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt — pretended to be acting in that capacity to purchase supplies for night vision and missile detection devices, prosecutors said.

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Huang founded a company and presented his old business card identifying him as a contract NASA employee to buy cadmium zinc telluride and mercury cadmium telluride wafers, technologies subject to export regulations, prosecutors said. Though the address of his business, Allray, was listed at his Clarksville home, its base of operations was in China, prosecutors said. To prevent suspicion, Huang used a Goddard email account for purchases from three U.S. technology companies and had the orders sent to an associate who worked at Goddard, prosecutors said.

U.S. Custom agents found covert communication devices in his luggage before a flight to China in May 2006, prosecutors said. He lied to agents about what the technologies were and subsequently had his wife clean out their home and computer, prosecutors said. Federal investigators later recovered some information including financial information for Allray's U.S. investors, the company's initial public offering plan, a 2006 PowerPoint presentation about its Chinese accomplishments and an article on a short-range ultraviolet communication device, prosecutors said.

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When the federal investigation into Allray began, Huang fled to China, where he was a fugitive until his arrest in London last December, prosecutors said. He took a plea deal and will serve three years of supervised release after his 15-month prison sentence.

An associate, Feng Yan, 46, formerly of Ellicott City, was also indicted as a participant in the scheme and remains at large, prosecutors said.

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