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Researcher due in court for allegedly stealing information to introduce in China

Judges gavel and stryker By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judges gavel and stryker By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A researcher in Milwaukee is due in federal court Thursday afternoon on charges that he stole a potential cancer-fighting chemical, so he could introduce it as his own in China.

42-year-old Hua Jun Zhao has been in jail without bond – and he was indicted by a grand jury this week on charges of computer fraud and lying to a federal agent. A charge of economic espionage was filed earlier by prosecutors.

A judge is expected to decide Thursday whether there’s enough evidence to order a trial.

Zhao, a researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin, allegedly stole three containers of the cancer-fighting compound from an office at the campus on February 22nd. Prosecutors also said he tried to delete research data from the school’s computers.

Medical College officials said he was disciplined several months earlier, for putting the school’s research data onto his personal computer.

Prosecutors said he wanted to take the data and the compound back to China, where he’s listed as an assistant professor at Zhejiang University.