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A former chemist for the Food and Drug Administration has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in an insider trading scheme that spanned nearly five years.

Cheng Yi Liang, 58, was sentenced Monday in federal court in Greenbelt. The Gaithersburg resident pleaded guilty in October to using a confidential drug database from 2006 to 2011 to learn what experimental drugs would be approved. He would then buy stock accordingly. He earned nearly $3.8 million using that non-public information.

Liang pleaded guilty in October to securities fraud and to making a false statement by failing to disclose his illicit profits on an FDA financial disclosure form. Liang agreed as part of his guilty plea to forfeit the money he earned in the scheme.

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