What to Know
- Joey Chun had Top Secret clearance since 1998.
- He sought payment for information that an undercover agent would "give" to China.
- He faces four counts of providing false statements.
An electronics technician working in the FBI’s New York City office since 1997 has been charged with making false statements to the FBI regarding contacts with Chinese foreign nationals, prosecutors say.
Kun Shan Chun (also known as Joey Chun) is named in a four-count complaint issued in March and unsealed Monday in federal court in Manhattan. He pleaded guilty to the complaint, which charges him with four counts of making false statements related to his foreign contacts.
Chun's public defender said his client was ready to acknowledge what he had done.
“Today Joey Chun accepted responsibility for some mistakes in judgment that he deeply regrets. The truth is that Mr. Chun loves the United States and never intended to cause it any harm. He hopes to put this matter behind him and move forward with his life," Jonathan Marvinny said in a statement.
Chun, age 47 and a naturalized U.S. citizen, held a Top Secret security clearance in his role as an FBI electronics technician, allowing him to access sensitive and classified information, court papers say.
Since 2006, Chun and some of his relatives maintained relationships with several Chinese nationals who purported to be affiliated with a Chinese company, according to court documents.
Chun was asked to perform research and other tasks in the United States in return for financial benefits, including paid foreign travel, and was in contact with an individual he understood to be affiliated with the Chinese government, court papers say. In March 2013, Chun downloaded an FBI organizational chart from his FBI computer and took it to a Chinese official in China, court papers say. Less than two years later, he took photos of documents that summarized sensitive details regarding FBI surveillance technologies and did the same.
Chun allegedly made a series of false statements to the FBI regarding his contacts with the Chinese nationals.
FBI policy requires employees to report contacts with foreign nationals and agents of foreign powers.
"Americans who act as unauthorized foreign agents commit a federal offense that betrays our nation and threatens our security,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. "And when the perpetrator is an FBI employee, like Kun Shan Chun, the threat is all the more serious and the betrayal all the more duplicitous."
Chun faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in December.