L.A. Man Sold Satellite Secrets to Fake Russian Spy

U.S. satellites in spaceEXPAND
U.S. satellites in space
NASA

At least one American is expected to serve time for giving intelligence to the Russians. It's not President Trump. It's 49-year-old Gregory Allen Justice, who pleaded guilty to economic espionage and violating the Arms Export Control Act, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles announced this week.

The Culver City man was an engineer on military and commercial satellite programs at a government contractor in the area that federal prosecutors would not identify. They say he handed sensitive technical data about military and commercial satellites to a man posing as a Russian spy in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash. The Russian spy turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.

"In exchange for providing these materials during a series of meeting between February and July of 2016, Justice sought and received thousands of dollars in cash payments," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. "During one meeting, Justice and the undercover agent discussed developing a relationship like one depicted on the television show The Americans ... "

Feds alleged that the defendant offered to take the fake Russian on a tour of his employer's otherwise classified facilities, "where Justice said all military spacecraft were built," according to the office. In all feds alleged that Justice sold trade secrets that took more than $1.5 million to develop.

Justice said he needed the cash to pay for medical treatment for an ailing wife. But prosecutors alleged in charging documents that he sent the more than $21,000 he received in six meetings with the agent to a woman, not his wife, named Chay.

The defendant, who's been behind bars since his arrest in July, made a plea deal with feds, with sentencing expected Sept. 18.

The crimes could get him a 35-year sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.


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