A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced Hua Jun Zhao to time already served in jail (4 1/2 months), plus two years probation.
Zhao agreed to a plea deal last month, pleading guilty to illegally downloading research from the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Prosecutors say he stole a possible cancer-fighting drug and data about it, intending to pass them off as his own discoveries, in China. Authorities have not located the compound.
Zhao worked as a researcher at the medical college in Milwaukee.