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A 32-year-old former NASA contractor could serve up to 10 years in federal prison after purchasing Chinese parts for a NASA space launch project and attempting to hide it. Seongchan “Steven” Yun, of Redondo Beach, California, was convicted of providing false documentation to a federal agency in order to cover up his purchases.
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NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion project
The contractor, who served as a project manager with the California-based CBOL Corporation, worked on a contract that provided stainless steel tubing for NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion project. He was accused of falsely certifying Chinese steel tubing despite being aware of contractual stipulations requiring that the material come from the United States.
The fraud was uncovered when NASA employees became suspicious after the steel tubing failed suitability testing. Yun initially tried to claim that he did not know the material had to be produced domestically. However, later he confessed to knowing about the requirements for tubing made inside the United States.
“The NASA Office of Inspector General will continue to aggressively investigate those who undermine and defraud NASA efforts to build the SLS launch vehicle and its systems,” Special Agent in Charge John Corbett, Central Field Office said in a statement.
“This jury verdict serves as a staunch reminder that such conduct will not be tolerated."
Yun's sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 2, 2020. He was indicted on March 13, 2019.
The case was investigated by the NASA – Office of Inspector General and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney E. Jackson Boggs Jr.