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David Yen Lee Stole Trade Secrets From Valspar To Bring To Chinese Competitor

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CHICAGO — A New Jersey man who was a chemist for a suburban Chicago-based paint company has pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets.

Federal prosecutors say 54-year-old David Yen Lee of Jersey City, N.J., pleaded guilty Wednesday. They say he admits to stealing formulas and information that was valued at up to $20 million. He formerly was a technical director at Valspar Corp.

Prosecutors say Lee stole the information from Valspar as he was preparing to work for a competitor in China. Lee formerly lived in Arlington Heights. Federal officials say he stole secret formulas for paints and coatings from Valspar's offices in Wheeling.

Lee is to be sentenced Nov. 23.