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Ex-Apple employee gets 6 months in prison and huge fine for stealing Apple car secrets

Apple has been tinkering away on its self-driving car project known as ‘Project Titan’ for quite some time now, but they’ve kept their cards close to their chest. Despite the rumors flying around, there’s still not much clarity on what Apple’s endgame is with this project. With ‘Project Titan’ being super hush-hush, we keep getting conflicting reports, leaving us in the dark about what Apple’s really up to.

Unfortunately, some employees involved in the project had to be careful, but one former engineer didn’t get the memo and ended up swiping trade secrets. He got busted, and the latest word is he’ll be doing a stint in prison and coughing up a hefty fine. Tough break.

Back in 2018, Xiaolang Zhang swiped a 25-page circuit board schematic from some unnamed self-driving car project. At first, he said he didn’t do it, but in 2022, he cut a deal with the U.S. government. Now that Zhang’s done his time, he’s looking at 120 days behind bars and three years of probation. Plus, he’s gotta fork over $146,984 in restitution.

“Defendant is sentenced to 120 days as to Count One of the Indictment (ECF No. 5, filed July 12, 2018). Defendant is committed to the Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for said term. Upon release from imprisonment, the Defendant shall serve a term of 3 years supervised release as to Count One of the Indictment.

The Court adopts the Probation Officer’s recommendations as to the standard and special conditions of supervised release. A special assessment fee of $100.00 is imposed. The Court imposes no fine. The Court Orders restitution in the agreed amount of $146,984.00. The Court further adopts the restitution payment schedules as recommended by the Probation Officer.”

At first, AppleInsider said Zhang could get nailed with a 10-year stretch and a $250,000 hit. Lucky for him, they cut him some slack. After wrapping up his time with ‘Project Titan,’ Zhang told Apple he needed to jet off to China to look after his sick mom and snag a gig with XMotors, a car company. But his plan hit a snag when he got nabbed at San Jose International Airport trying to catch a flight to Beijing. Tough break.