Qin Shuren made no secret of his interest in underwater drones, according to his neighbors in the affluent Boston suburb of Wellesley.
The Chinese national once invited local kids to test a subaquatic robot in his backyard pool, they recalled, and another time demonstrated one at his children’s school.
Neighbors were stunned when police arrived at Mr. Qin’s colonial-style home in 2018 and placed him under arrest. On Wednesday, Mr. Qin is set to plead guilty in federal court to felony charges that he illegally procured more than $100,000 in U.S. marine technology for a Chinese military research institute.
Under a plea agreement Mr. Qin reached with the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston, he is expected to plead guilty to counts of conspiring to commit export violations, visa fraud, lying to government agents, money laundering and smuggling.
Prosecutors agreed in exchange to drop several other counts and said they would ask that Mr. Qin serve the lower end of the punishment prescribed by sentencing guidelines, which could be around seven years in prison, depending on the judge’s findings.