(CNN) -- A 28-year-old Detroit man pleaded guilty on Friday to "conspiring to provide national defense information" to Chinese government intelligence officers, the Justice Department said.
Glenn Duffie Shriver pleaded guilty in Virginia federal court before U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady. The government and defense both recommended a 48-month prison sentence in a plea agreement, and the sentencing is scheduled for January 21.
"Mr. Shriver betrayed his country and took repeated steps toward spying for another government," said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Citing a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, the department said Shriver is "proficient in Mandarin Chinese and resided in the People's Republic of China" as an undergraduate student and after graduation.
Shriver developed a relationship with three people when living in Shanghai in October 2004. The people turned out to be Chinese government intelligence officers, who asked him to return to the United States and seek posts in U.S. intelligence or law enforcement agencies.
He said in court that he realized his "ultimate objective" was a position that would give him access to classified information that he would give to the officers for money.
"From 2005 to 2010, Shriver attempted to gain employment as a U.S. Foreign Service officer with the Department of State and as a clandestine service officer with the Central Intelligence Agency," the department said. "Shriver admitted that, during this time, he maintained frequent contact with the [Chinese] intelligence officers and received more than $70,000 in three separate cash payments for what the officers called his 'friendship.'"
He admitted making false statements on a CIA questionnaire that said he had had no contact with foreign government or its representatives in the past seven years, the Justice Department said. He had met one or more of the officers about 20 times since 2004.
He didn't mention his travel to China in 2007, when he received $40,000 from the government for applying to the CIA, and he made false statements in final screening CIA interviews, the department said.