"Spying," unlike in the movies, is an officially sanctioned activity. Foreign agents must declare themselves with the State Department and failure to do so could result in charge. A woman from Florida was charged with 18 different counts, including failure to register as a foreign agent and illegal exportation. All of these crimes may seem minor however their cumulative punishment could result in decades behind bars. This article will briefly go over the complaint and how these charges could happen to you.
The prosecutor alleges that from 2002 to 2014, this woman operated as an illegal agent for the Harbin Engineering University (or "HEU"). HEU is owned and operated by the Government of China. Through HEU the prosecutor alleges that she worked as an enemy agent and failed to disclose her status.
Moreover, the complaint alleges that she committed money laundering, fraud, false statements, smuggling and illegal exportation. Regarding the exportation charge, the government alleges that she obtained marine submersible technology from multiple U.S. companies under the direction of HEU. She then exported that technology to China without filing the exportation paperwork.
White collar crime is a particularly dangerous set of crimes because you can run amok of them and not realize or intend it. This particular woman is a bad example but, as you can see above, if you export technology or goods you must file paperwork with the government. What you export changes what you need to file. Failure to do so could result in illegal exportation charges, as illustrated above. If this happened to you, then you may want to speak to an attorney. A lawyer can go over the charges and help determine a defense strategy.