Maui resident Noshir Gowadia, 66, has been sentenced to 32 years in federal prison for selling national defense secrets to the People’s Republic of China.
The sentence was handed down by U.S. Dist. Judge Susan Oki Mollway.
Gowadia is an aerospace engineer who worked on designs of the B-2 stealth bomber while employed at Norfolk Corp. (now Northrop Grumman) from 1968-86.
He was convicted following a four-month jury trial last year of offenses including illegal export of military technology, money laundering and filing false tax returns.
The case was prosecuted by Asst. U.S. Atty. Kenneth Sorenson.
“Mr. Gowadia provided some of our country’s most sensitive weapons-related designs to the Chinese government for money,” said Asst. Atty. Gen. for National Security David Kris.
“This prosecution should serve as a warning to others who would compromise our nation’s military secrets for profit,” said Kris.
Gowadia first came under suspicion of federal authorities in 1999 and his palatial Maui home, on a high bluff overlooking Pacific Ocean, was placed under periodic air and ground surveillance.
U.S. Customs agents secretly searched his luggage and laptop computer before one of his trips to Asia in 2004 and investigators raided his home in 2005.
Sorenson said during the trial that Gowadia was “desperate for money” to pay the $14,000 monthly mortgage on his house and also resentful because he felt his contributions to the B-2 program were unappreciated.
The government said Gowadia was paid some $110,000 for the secrets he sold – far less than the $400,000 he originally expected to receive.
Some of the money was laundered through bank accounts Gowadia established in Lichtenstein and Switzerland.
Gowadia maintained that the information he sold was useless and much of it was publicly available elsewhere.
His family said Gowadia intends to appeal the conviction.
Gowadia is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in India.