Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

This Just In: OC engineer sentenced to prison for conspiracy

March 24, 2008 | 11:56 am

Chimak Chi Mak, who was convicted last year of conspiracy and other charges of passing sensitive military technology to China, was sentenced this morning to 24 years and five month in federal prison.

Prosecutors said the 67-year-old Mak was a sleeper agent for Chinese intelligence who had prepared for his assignment since moving to Hong Kong in the 1960s. The Chinese-born engineer lived in Downey and worked for an Anaheim-based defense contractor, Power Paragon, that does work for the Navy. The information Mak provided would have made it easier to detect U.S. submarines.

In sentencing Mak, U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney in Santa Ana said that Mak had betrayed the United States by his actions.

Mak was arrested in late 2005 in Los Angeles after FBI agents stopped his brother and sister-in-law as they boarded a flight to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China. Investigators said they found three encrypted CDs in their luggage that contained documents on a submarine propulsion system, a solid-state power switch for ships, and a PowerPoint presentation on the future of power electronics.

H.G. Reza is working on a full story.

--Jesus Sanchez

Courtroom sketch -- Associated Press