Forty-six-year old Mo Hailong pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal trade secrets from DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto. He admitted to stealing corn seeds from Iowa fields to send back to Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group, the company he worked for in China.
Mo is a permanent resident of the U.S. under a legally obtained visa, and worked as the director of international business for Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group, which has a seed corn subsidiary. DuPont Pioneer security became suspicious in 2011 when they caught him digging in a test field and they then called the FBI.
Mo agreed to the plea deal in hopes of a lesser sentence, and a theft charge was dropped. Conspiracy to steal trade secrets is a felony that can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. He is one of seven people believed to be involved in the conspiracy.