Former Avnet Asia Employee Charged with Criminal Conspiracy to Export Restricted Power Amplifiers to China

ERAI, Inc.
US Department of Commerce

On December 5, 2019, Cheng Bo aka Joe Cheng, a Chinese citizen, was charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment had been sealed by the court but was ordered to be unsealed by the US District Court of the District of Columbia on January 22, 2021.

The US Government alleges that starting in about March of 2011 through June of 2015, Bo Cheng aka Joe Cheng used his position as a sales account manager with Avnet Asia to procure export-controlled US goods (i.e. power amplifiers) and knowingly shipped them from Hong Kong to China without a US export license. The total value of the goods is estimated at $814,000 which were shipped in at least 18 separate shipments. Cheng allegedly placed the orders through a Hong Kong company which was owned and directed by Cheng, unbeknownst to Avnet Asia. Cheng had stated in his orders that the end-user of the goods was located in Hong Kong; thus causing Avnet Asia to falsely file electronic export information in the US stating the goods were destined for Hong Kong. To further his scheme, Cheng had other trading companies in Hong Kong issue payment to his company for the orders and listed their company information as the end-users.

In June 2015, Cheng deleted data from his employer-issued computer and returned it to Avnet Asia as part of his resignation.

Bo Cheng/Cheng Bo is currently listed as a fugitive.

If convicted of the charges, Cheng faces a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to twice the value of the property involved in the criminal transactions.

Further Reading:


Cheng Bo Indictment