Washington, DC–Jun Wei Yeo, also known as Dickson Yeo, entered a plea of guilty today to one count of acting within the United States as an illegal agent of a foreign power without first notifying the Attorney General, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 951. Mr. Yeo’s plea was entered via videoconference before the Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
As outlined in the Statement of Offense, Yeo began working with Chinese intelligence officers as early as 2015, initially targeting other Asian countries, but then focusing on the United States. In response to taskings from his Chinese intelligence contacts, Yeo worked to spot and assess Americans with access to valuable non-public information, including U.S. military and government employees with high-level security clearances. After Yeo identified American targets, he solicited them for non-public information and paid them to write reports. Yeo told these American targets that the reports were for clients in Asia, without revealing that they were in fact destined for the Chinese government.
Yeo made use of various social media sites to carry out the taskings given to him by Chinese intelligence operatives. In 2018, Yeo created a fake consulting company that used the same name as a prominent U.S. consulting firm that conducts public and government relations, and Yeo posted job advertisements under that company name. Ninety percent of the resumes Yeo received in response were from U.S. military and government personnel with security clearances, and he passed resumes of interest to one of the Chinese intelligence operatives.
Yeo also used a professional networking website that is focused on career and employment information to carry out the taskings he received from Chinese intelligence officials. Yeo used the professional networking website to find individuals with resumes and job descriptions suggesting that they would have access to valuable information. After he identified individuals worth targeting, Yeo followed guidance he received from Chinese intelligence operatives regarding how to recruit potential targets, including identifying their vulnerabilities, such as dissatisfaction with work or financial difficulties.
The maximum penalty for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 951 is ten years. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. The defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing is set for October 9, 2020 before the Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan.