Xiaoqing Zheng hid the technology in a picture of the sunset

A Chinese American engineer has been charged for stealing technology from General Electric.

As reported by Yahoo, a Chinese American engineer is facing charges of stealing technology from General Electric and hiding it in a picture before taking it China.

The FBI arrested Xiaoqing Zheng, 56, after a four year investigation that involved searches at his home in Niskayuna, New York. In one search, a handbook was found detailing “resources” Beijing would grant to individuals providing certain technology.

Zheng is a US citizen who also has Chinese nationality. He worked for or owned Chinese companies that dealt in the same technologies produced by GE.

According to US investigators, Zheng may have stolen thousands of files with GE’s industrial secrets since 2014.

“The GE proprietary technologies on which Zheng works would have economic value to any of GE’s business competitors,” FBI Special Agent MD McDonald said in an affidavit.

Zheng was monitored by GE transferring files containing turbine technology to his personal email. He then hid the data in a binary code of a digital photograph of a sunset. Such a procedure is known as “steganography”. Zheng allegedly used steganography on five to ten occasions.

FBI agents also found a passport at his home showing five trips to China over the past two years.

Zheng faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 with three years of supervised release.