Ex-biotech founders sentenced in San Francisco court for $100M fraud case

FILE - A "Department of Justice" sign is seen on the wall of the US Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. on April 18, 2019. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

The co-founders of a biopharmaceutical firm were sentenced Tuesday in a San Francisco federal courtroom to a year in prison for their convictions in August 2021, when they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal trade secrets and defraud investors of more than $100 million.

Racho Jordanov, the co-founder and former chief executive officer of JHL Biotech, and Rose Lin, another of the company's co-founders and former chief operating officer, were each sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison. Senior U.S. District Judge William Alsup also ordered the prison term to be followed by a term of supervised release of 36 months.

The sentencing was announced Tuesday by United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds, IRS Special Agent in Charge Mark H. Pearson and FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair.

In their plea agreements, Jordanov and Lin admitted to taking confidential, proprietary and trade secret information from Genentech between 2011 and 2019 that they used to defraud investors of more than $100 million.

Jordanov, 74, of Rancho Santa Fe, and 73-year-old Lin, also known as Rose Sweihorn Tong, of South San Francisco, co-founded JHL Biotech, Inc., a biopharmaceutical startup in Taiwan. They admitted to paying a Genentech employee to provide them with confidential information from the biotech giant.

That employee, Xanthe Lam, was a principal scientist for the company. She and her husband, Allen Lam, were convicted after pleading guilty in July to stealing confidential, proprietary and trade secret information from Genentech and giving it to JHL Biotech.