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United States v. Zhang

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

January 17, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
YIJIA ZHANG, Defendant

Decided January 16, 2014

Page 341

For YIJIA ZHANG, Defendant: DENNIS E. BOYLE, LEAD ATTORNEY, Boyle Litigation, CAMP HILL, PA; KENNETH E. RALEIGH, LEAD ATTORNEY, BOYLE LITIGATION, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

For USA, Plaintiff: MICHAEL L. LEVY, LEAD ATTORNEY, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, PHILA, PA.

OPINION

Page 342

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Legrome D. Davis, J.

AND NOW, this 16th day of January 2014, upon consideration of Defendant Yijia Zhang's Motion to Dismiss Count II of Indictment (Doc. No. 45) and Memorandum of Law in Support thereof (Doc. No. 46), and the Government's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss Count Two (Doc. No. 47) and Supplemental Memorandum (Doc. No. 48), it is hereby ORDERED that Zhang's Motion to Dismiss Count II of Indictment is GRANTED.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On September 13, 2012, the Government filed an indictment (the " Indictment" ) charging Yijia Zhang with damaging a protected computer in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 1030(a)(5)(A) and 1030(c)(4)(A)(i)(I) (" Count I" ), and violating the National Stolen Property Act (" NSPA" ), 18 U.S.C. § 2314 (" Count II" ). (Indictment 1-5, Doc. No. 1.)

According to the Indictment, Zhang worked as a computer systems manager for " Company A" until July 6, 2010. (Indictment ¶ ¶ 2, 6.) On June 28, 2010, Zhang copied approximately 6,700 of Company A's confidential files from an unspecified location on Company A's internal network to the desktop computer provided to Zhang by Company A. (Indictment ¶ 7.) Zhang then transferred some or all of these files from his computer to one of Company A's servers (the " Server" ). (Indictment ¶ 8.) The copied and transferred files contained " sensitive information regarding the operation and development of Company A's computer network." (Indictment ¶ 13.) Two days later, on June 30, 2010, Zhang gave Company A written notice that his last day with the company would be July 6, 2010. (Indictment ¶ 6.)

On Saturday, July 3, 2010, Zhang copied approximately 2,800 more confidential files from Company A's network to his desktop computer. (Indictment ¶ 10.) On Sunday, July 4, 2010, Zhang copied roughly 300 more confidential files to his computer. (Indictment ¶ 11.) Zhang then transferred some or all of the confidential files that he had accumulated on his desktop computer that weekend to the Server. (Indictment ¶ 12.) Next, Zhang established an Internet connection between the Server and Internet storage sites in Sweden and Germany that Zhang maintained. (Indictment ¶ ¶ 3, 14.) Zhang then used this connection to transfer an unspecified number of Company A's confidential files to the Internet storage sites. (Indictment ¶ 14.) After completing this transfer, Zhang covered his digital tracks by deleting unspecified files from the Server. (Indictment ¶ 17.) The deletion of these files eliminated evidence of Zhang's transfers and prevented the Server from functioning as intended. (Id.)

Presently before the Court is Zhang's motion to dismiss Count II of the Indictment pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b)(3)(B). (See Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Count II, Doc. No. 45.) Zhang argues that the allegations in the Indictment fail to state an offense under the NSPA. The Government opposes this motion.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 7(c)(1) provides that an " indictment . . . must be a plain, concise, and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged." " A facially sufficient indictment (1) contains the elements of the offense intended to be charged, (2) sufficiently apprises the defendant of what he must be prepared to meet, and (3) allows the defendant to show with accuracy to what extent he may plead a former acquittal or conviction in the

Page 343

event of a subsequent prosecution." United States v. Stock, 728 F.3d 287, 292 (3d Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted).

" Under Rule 12(b)(3)(B), a defendant may contest the sufficiency of an indictment on the basis that it fails to state an offense . . . [because] the specific facts alleged fall beyond the scope of the relevant criminal statute, as a matter of statutory interpretation." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). A district court evaluates a challenge under this Rule by " determining whether, assuming all of those facts as true, a jury could find that the defendant ...


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