On Friday, at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Jun Wei Yeo, also known as Dickson Yeo, was sentenced by the Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan to 14 months in prison. On July 24, 2020 Yeo pled guilty to 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.
As early as 2015, Yeo began working with Chinese intelligence officers initially targeting other Asian countries, but then focusing on the United States. 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 identifying his American targets, he solicited them for non-public information and paid them to write reports. He told them that the reports were for clients in Asia, without revealing that they were in fact destined for the Chinese government.
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. Yeo posted job advertisements under that company name and ninety percent of the resumes he received in response were from U.S. military and government personnel with security clearances. Yeo then passed the resumes of interest to one of the Chinese intelligence operatives.
A website used for professional networking that focused on career and employment information was used by Yeo 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.