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UPDATE: Chinese researcher sentenced in research drug case

UPDATED Tuesday, August 6, 2013 --- 11:34 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Chinese researcher has been sentenced to two years of probation on charges stemming from the theft of a research drug from a Wisconsin medical school.

Hua Jun Zhao was also sentenced Tuesday to time served for the 4 1/2 months he has already spent behind bars.

A federal complaint accused Zhao of stealing a possible cancer-fighting compound and its accompanying research with the intent of passing it off as his own in China. The compound was never found.

Zhao pleaded guilty in July to a reduced charge of illegally downloading research data from the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he worked as a researcher. He said he only intended to protect the data and not to profit from it.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, August 6, 2013 --- 5:37 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Chinese scientist is set to be sentenced on charges stemming from the theft of a research drug from a Wisconsin medical school.

Hua Jun Zhao pleaded guilty last month to a reduced charge of illegally downloading research data from the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he worked as a researcher. He's scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday morning.

Prosecutors say the 41-year-old stole three vials of the drug, plus accompanying research, in hopes of passing them off as his own in China.

He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In a court filing last week, defense attorney Michelle Jacobs recommended a sentence of four months as time served, with perhaps a year of probation. She cites his clean record and his personal and professional reputation.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Updated Wednesday, July 10, 2013 --- 3:04 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Chinese researcher accused of stealing a possible cancer-fighting compound from a Wisconsin medical school has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge.

Hua Jun Zhao was accused of stealing three vials of a research drug from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Prosecutors say he also downloaded academic research that he planned to pass off as his own in China.

As part of a deal, Zhao pleaded guilty Wednesday to accessing a computer without authorization. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A Wisconsin research team was in the early stages of studying whether the drug could help kill cancer cells without damaging healthy ones.

Prosecutors say Zhao applied for research funding in China, claiming he had discovered the drug himself.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, July 10, 2013 --- 5:35 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A researcher accused of stealing a possible cancer-fighting compound from the Medical College of Wisconsin is expected to plead guilty to a reduced computer-related charge.

Hua Jun Zhao was accused of accused of stealing three vials of the compound. Prosecutors say he also stole academic research that he planned to pass off as his own in China.

Zhao initially pleaded not guilty to tampering with a private computer and lying to a federal agent. Court records say he agreed to change his plea at a hearing set for Wednesday.

A plea agreement says Zhao will to plead guilty to accessing a computer without authorization. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Defense attorney Michelle Jacobs says she expects the hearing will conform to the plea agreement.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, July 5, 2013 --- 4:02 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A researcher accused of stealing a possible cancer-fighting compound from the Medical College of Wisconsin has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

Hua Jun Zhao was accused of accused of stealing three vials of the compound. Prosecutors say he also stole academic research that he planned to pass off as his own in China.

Zhao initially pleaded not guilty to charges of tampering with a private computer and lying to a federal agent. He agreed to change his plea at a hearing set for Wednesday.

Online court records say Zhao agreed this week to plead guilty to accessing a computer without authorization. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A message left with Zhao's defense attorney Friday was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted Tuesday, April 2, 2013 --- 10:18 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin is charged with espionage after prosecutors say he stole details of a cancer-fighting compound that he wanted to share with China.

Prosecutors say Hua Jun Zhao stole the compound, C-25, and data that led to its development.

A federal complaint says investigators found several hundred items related to research into C-25 on Zhao's computer. Authorities found a grant application from Zhao, written in Mandarin, claiming he discovered the compound and seeking Chinese funding to continue research.

The 42-year-old Zhao is charged with economic espionage, which carries a maximum 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Public defender Juval Scott didn't immediately return a message Tuesday from The Associated Press. She tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Zhao is a "talented professional."

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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