Former FBI Agent Charged With Stealing Classified Documents

A top FBI agent who worked right here in Chicago’s organized crime division is being accused of stealing classified information and “hoarding” it. Yen Cham Yung managed to achieve top government clearance, but now he will be brought to Chicago to face charges.


Yung was accused of keeping hundreds of classified documents without consent. These documents did not contain information about spies or UFOs, but they did detail undercover informants, surveillance activity, and memos sent between supervisors concerning gang activity.


Yung also had a memorandum between CIA and FBI agents concerning activities in both the U.S. and abroad. Memoranda like these become necessary when the FBI and CIA are conducting operations against one another without realizing they are working for the same side. This memorandum was accessed by someone using Yung’s credentials.


Is He a Spy?


You may be thinking that Yung is a double agent for the Chinese government. That is possible, but it is hard to make a case that the information he stole, while classified, could be used to benefit the Chinese. Of course, understanding how the FBI operates criminal investigations could benefit a foreign government, but Yung is not being accused of either selling or disseminating any of the information. He is only hoarding it.


Yung went under investigation after his wife filed an order of protection against him. She went through his old documents looking for anything that might be helpful for their divorce, but found several classified documents instead. 


What happened in between that point and the execution of the search warrant of Yang’s home is unknown, but FBI agents executed the warrant, uncovered the sensitive documents, and charged him with the illegal possession of those documents.


The Law


According to 18 U.S. Code § 1924, the unauthorized removal or retention of classified government documents is a crime. Whoever removes the documents from a secure location or possesses the documents in an unauthorized location is guilty of a crime. Yung was caught red-handed, but the penalty for this offense is fewer than five years in federal prison. He could also face a fine.


However, more interesting than Yung’s hoarding of the documents is the reason why he hoarded the documents. There does not appear to be any secondary nefarious motive behind his actions. It could be a simple matter of an FBI agent whose mental health deteriorated to the extent that he could no longer do his job. If so, Yung may be able to use that to his advantage to fight the charges.


No one wants to see someone who spent decades fighting crime be accused of a crime for causes that are beyond his control. If he had psychiatric problems, the court will likely see that there was no harm caused by Yung’s actions and simply ensure that he no longer has access to sensitive information.


Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today


If you have been accused of a federal crime, then you will be facing federal charges, a federal judge, and federal agents. You need an attorney who understands federal laws and can defend you in a federal court. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and learn more about our services. 

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