Showing posts with label U.S. Attorney’s Office. Show all posts
Showing posts with label U.S. Attorney’s Office. Show all posts

The Observer: PG&E Probation Problems; Redistricting Update

 he Observer: PG&E Probation Problems; Redistricting Update

Federal Judge Says PG&E May Have Violated Probation

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) apparently is once more in violation of its probation according to the federal judge overseeing the troubled electrical giant.

This past September, the Shasta County D.A.’s Office filed criminal charges against PG&E in connection with the Zogg fire that left four people dead.

Cal Fire investigators found that a tree toppled into PG&E overhead power lines, which ignited the firestorm that burned 56,000-plus acres, destroying more than 200 structures.

Back in 2017, PG&E was placed on probation following the deadly 2010 San Bruno gas line explosion. This week PG&E’s probation officer stated, “There is probable cause to believe that the company while under probation violated the general condition of probation that they not commit another federal, state or local crime.

Federal Judge William Alsup, who is in charge of the utility’s probation, found probable cause of the utility violating the conditions of its supervision. As a result, the judge could extend that probation period — ending next year — or revoke the sentence and re-sentence PG&E.

Stephanie Bridgett, Shasta County’s district attorney, said in late September that PG&E “was reckless and criminally negligent” because it had not removed the tree that caused the Zogg Fire.

Just a few weeks ago, Judge Alsup issued a request to PG&E for a final report asking what progress the utility company has made during its probation to improve public safety for both their gas and electric divisions. Alsup also wants PG&E to explain the reasons it has started wildfires and what it has done to prevent future fires.

According to Reclaim Our Power, which is part of a coalition of California organizations that watchdogs the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E’s problems continue to mount, as five counties filed lawsuits recently “for damages from the catastrophic Dixie Fire that the utility admits it likely caused. PG&E faces criminal charges from fires in 2019, 2020, and 2021 as well as revelations that hedge funds have taken billions in profits while fire survivors continue to be given slow, incomplete access to funds to recover damages caused by PG&E.”

Speaking of PG&E, here’s a suggestion by Laytonville’s Robin Thomposon, a professional lumber grader, regarding what can be done with some of the trees being removed around the utility’s overhead infrastructure. Thompson sent his recommendation to 3rd District Supervisor John Haschak.

Hi John,

A concerted effort could have been made — by county administration, working with PG&E — to save all the merchantible softwood timber during the PG&E line clearing. Homeowners could then be paid stumpage at the mill, same as any timberland owner. Truckers & local mills would have benefitted. The whole program would have been more palatable to all that way… I had a gorgeous, long, commercially valuable fir log that I had to ask 4 different crew chiefs to leave alone. I come back, it’s been cut up: a 7′ here, a 5′ there, meaningless, ruinous short lengths! Does PG&E run this county or do we? Micro-millers had no chance to work or cooperate with PG&E. Softwood timbers, they could have produced, are quite valuable. Softwood plants from here to the border would lick their chops over all the gorgeous, mature & “grandfather” material that COULD HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE with a little fore thought, planning & implementation. Please forward this to your colleagues.


Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, observer@pacific.net, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org


Walter Liew Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Economic Espionage

July 11, 2014

Walter Liew Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Economic Espionage

SAN FRANCISCO—Yesterday, Walter Lian-Heen Liew (aka Liu Yuanxuan) was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison, forfeit $27.8 million in illegal profits, and pay $511,667.82 in restitution for what the sentencing judge described as a “white collar crime spree” that included violations of the Economic Espionage Act, tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud, and obstruction of justice, announced U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag; John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice; David Johnson, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), San Francisco Division; and Jose Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of the Oakland Field Office, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation.
Liew was convicted on March 6, 2014, after a two month jury trial before the Honorable Jeffery S. White, U.S. District Court Judge, on each of the twenty counts with which he was charged. The jury found that Liew, his company, USA Performance Technology, Inc. (USAPTI), and Robert Maegerle conspired to steal trade secrets from E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company regarding their chloride-route titanium dioxide production technology and sold those secrets for large sums of money to state-owned companies of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The purpose of their conspiracy was to help those companies develop large-scale chloride-route titanium dioxide production capabilities in the PRC, including a planned 100,000-ton titanium dioxide factory in Chongqing. This case marks the first federal jury conviction on charges brought under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996.
The jury also found that Liew, USAPTI, and Maegerle obstructed justice during the course of their conspiracy. The jury found that Liew filed false tax returns for USAPTI and Performance Group, a predecessor company to USAPTI, and made false statements and oaths in bankruptcy proceedings for Performance Group.
Liew, 56, of Walnut Creek, Calif., originally was indicted in August 2011 and the grand jury subsequently returned two superseding indictments. Liew was convicted of conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, attempted economic espionage, attempted theft of trade secrets, possession of trade secrets, conveying trade secrets, conspiracy to obstruct justice, witness tampering, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, false statements, filing false tax returns, false statements in bankruptcy proceedings, and false oath in bankruptcy proceedings. Liew was an owner and president of USAPTI, a company headquartered in Oakland, Calif., that offered consulting services. USAPTI was found guilty of conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, attempted economic espionage, attempted theft of trade secrets, possession of trade secrets, conveying trade secrets, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Evidence at trial showed that in the early 1990s, Liew met with the government of the PRC and was informed that the PRC had prioritized the development of chloride-route titanium dioxide (TiO2) technology. TiO2 is a commercially valuable white pigment with numerous uses, including coloring paint, plastics, and paper. DuPont’s TiO2 chloride-route process also produces titanium tetrachloride, a material with military and aerospace uses. Liew was aware that DuPont had developed industry leading TiO2 technology over many years of research and development and assembled a team of former DuPont employees, including Robert Maegerle, to assist him in his efforts to convey DuPont’s TiO2 technology to entities in the PRC. Liew executed contracts with state-owned entities of the PRC for chloride-route TiO2 projects that relied on the transfer of illegally obtained DuPont technology. Liew, Maegerle, and USAPTI obtained and sold DuPont’s TiO2 trade secrets to the Pangang Group companies for more than $20 million.
The jury found Liew, Maegerle, and USAPTI guilty of obstructing justice by causing an answer to be filed in a federal civil lawsuit in which they falsely claimed that no information from DuPont’s Kuan Yin plant was used in the USAPTI designs for the development of TiO2 manufacturing facilities. Liew was also found guilty of witness tampering for his efforts to influence a co-defendant’s testimony in the civil lawsuit. The jury also convicted Liew of conspiring with his wife, Christina Liew, to mislead the FBI by corruptly concealing records, documents, and other objects during the FBI’s investigation into their criminal activity.
Liew was also convicted of filing a false income tax return for his company, Performance Group, for calendar years 2006, 2007, and 2008 and for USAPTI in 2009 and 2010. The jury also found Liew guilty of making false statements and a false oath in connection with filing for bankruptcy for Performance Group in 2009.
Liew, as co-owner of USAPTI, entered into contracts worth nearly $28 million to convey TiO2 trade secret technology to Pangang Group companies. The Liews received millions of dollars of proceeds from these contracts. The proceeds were wired through the United States, Singapore, and ultimately back into several bank accounts in the PRC in the names of relatives of Christina Liew.
The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Jeffrey S. White, U.S. District Court Judge. The Court stated during the sentencing hearing that the 15 year sentence was intended, in part, to send a message that the theft and sale of trade secrets for the benefit of a foreign government is a serious crime that threatens our national economic security. In addition to the prison term, the Court ordered Liew to forfeit $27.8 million, and to pay $511,667.82 in restitution to DuPont and victims of his bankruptcy fraud and a $2,000 special assessment ($100 for each of the twenty counts of conviction).
The case was prosecuted by attorneys from the Special Prosecution Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s and the U.S. Department of Justice National Security Division. The FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division were responsible for the investigation.
Further Information:
Case #: CR-11-0573  JSW
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office at http://www.justice.gov/usao/can/index.html.
This content has been reproduced from its original source.

Popular Posts

Blog Archive

Ad Home

More Links

Follow Us

No one has ever become poor by giving, Please Donate

Flickr Images


Powered by Blogger.



Search This Blog

Find Us On Facebook

Random Posts

Recent Posts

Header Ads




Popular Posts

Recent Posts

Unordered List

  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.
  • Aliquam tincidunt mauris eu risus.
  • Vestibulum auctor dapibus neque.


Theme Support

Need our help to upload or customize this blogger template? Contact me with details about the theme customization you need.