Hua Jun Zhao was accused of stealing three vials of a research drug from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Prosecutors say he also downloaded academic research that he planned to pass off as his own in China.
As part of a deal, Zhao pleaded guilty Wednesday to accessing a computer without authorization. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A Wisconsin research team was in the early stages of studying whether the drug could help kill cancer cells without damaging healthy ones.
Prosecutors say Zhao applied for research funding in China, claiming he had discovered the drug himself.
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