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While trying to board a plane to China last week, a one-time general manager at Game of War developer Machine Zone was arrested and charged with stealing trade secrets.

Alex Wawro, Contributor

August 26, 2015

1 Min Read

The Wall Street Journal reports that a one-time general manager at Game of War developer Machine Zone has been arrested and charged with stealing trade secrets after threatening to distribute confidential Game of War player data if his superiors didn't offer him a suitable severance package.

Former Machine Zone employee Jing Zeng, 42, was trying to board a plane to China when he was apprehended by federal authorities at San Francisco International Airport last Thursday, according to a Bay City News Service report.

During his bail hearing today in San Francisco, details of the case came to light: Machine Zone executives filed a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this year after Zeng (who had been told to leave the company) downloaded data on Game of War player behavior and reportedly tried to use it as a bargaining chip to negotiate a severance package for himself.

His superiors offered him a three-month package, then promptly contacted federal authorities. Zeng is now under electronic monitoring and awaiting a trial after posting a $100,000 bail. If he's found guilty, he may be required to spend up to 10 years in jail, pay fines of up to $250,000, and potentially pay restitution to Machine Zone.

Zeng's actions are seemingly totally unrelated to the lawsuit Machine Zone recently filed against competitor Kabam for alleged theft of trade secrets.

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