A former U.S. Navy sailor was sentenced to 30 months’ confinement and a $20,000 fine Tuesday for conspiring with her husband to illegally export “sensitive military equipment” to China for their own profit, the U.S. Justice Department announced.
Former Logistics Specialist 1st Class Ye Sang “Ivy” Wang, 37, was assigned to Naval Special Warfare Command and admitted to using her official position to buy military gear that her husband then sold to online buyers in China, according to the department.
She pleaded guilty in July and received an other-than-honorable discharge from the Navy in September, according to court records.
Her husband, Shaohua “Eric” Wang, 38, ran an online store selling pilfered gear to customers in China, according to court records.
In one instance, those records show that Shaohua Wang sold a ballistic helmet belonging to SEAL Team 5 to a Chinese customer in November 2018, netting him about $2,300 in the process.
One item Ye Sang Wang purchased in March 2018 using her military email and mailing address identifies U.S. personnel in the field and was subject to federal export controls.
Wang was deployed to Iraq at the time and told her command the package she ordered to her San Diego-based command was for her husband’s camping trip, according to the department.
Later in 2018, she returned home and gave the device to her husband, but law enforcement had secretly disabled it beforehand.
Wang told the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that her husband had sent her an Excel spreadsheet of military gear for her to purchase for buyers in China, according to the department.
Her husband couldn’t buy the gear with his personal email address, so he repeatedly pestered his wife to do so.
“She grew so annoyed at his repeated requests that, after purchasing equipment for him through March 2018, she gave him her password to her military email address and told him to buy the export-controlled military equipment posing as her after she deployed,” the Justice Department said.
Shaohua Wang’s scheme began in September 2016, according to court records.
Those records indicate that Ye Sang Wang kept providing military equipment to her husband through December 2018, even though she knew she was under investigation since at least October 2018, court records state.
“Ms. Wang betrayed her oath to the U.S. Navy and ultimately threatened the operational readiness and safety of our nation’s military by attempting to acquire and illegally export sensitive military equipment to China,” Special Agent in Charge Joshua Flowers, of the NCIS Southwest Field Office, said in a statement.
Shaohua Wang pleaded guilty in September 2019 to selling export-controlled U.S. military equipment through his online business and admitted to enlisting his wife to use her Navy position to further the scheme, according to the department.
“(Shaohua Wang) also admitted that he maintained a warehouse in China to house the military equipment, travelled back and forth frequently, and had connections to buyers in China,” the Justice Department said.
He was sentenced to 46 months in prison in February 2020.
“Shaohua “Eric” Wang is currently serving the remainder of his sentence on home confinement at home with (Ye Sang Wang) and their two minor children,” court records state.
Ye Sang Wang is originally from China and enlisted in the Navy in 2005, becoming a U.S. citizen two years later, according to court records.
She later sponsored her husband to become a U.S. citizen.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.