A businessman who once worked for defense contractor Lockheed Martin was sentenced on Monday to six-and-a-half years in prison for attempting to purchase sophisticated military weaponry for the Chinese government.
Ko-Suen "Bill" Moo, 59, was also fined US$1 million by US District Judge Donald Graham for his role in the scheme, which included an attempt to buy an engine for an F-16 fighter and AGM-129 cruise missiles from sellers who were actually undercover US agents. Moo and another man also sought to buy Blackhawk helicopter engines.
Moo, who was once Lockheed Martin's top agent in Taiwan, pleaded guilty in May to being a covert Chinese agent, conspiracy to broker and export US defense items and attempting to pay a US$500,000 bribe to win release from federal custody.
"I'm very sorry," Moo said through an interpreter at a sentencing hearing attended by seven family members.
Moo's attorney, Michael Tein, noted that Moo had no prior criminal record and that he made no profit from his efforts on China's behalf.
"He made a very serious mistake. It was atypical of his entire life," Tein said.
Moo, however, did admit attempting to acquire the military hardware for China along with a Frenchman who remains a fugitive beginning in 2004. They first sought to purchase the Blackhawk engines and then decided to focus instead on the F-16 engine.
In August last year, Moo met in Miami with individuals he thought were selling the engine but who were in fact undercover ICE agents. At that meeting, he showed them a document indicating that China also wanted the cruise missiles and AIM-120 air-to-air missiles. He was arrested when he went to inspect the engine.