Federal law enforcement officials arrested a professor at the University of Arkansas for allegedly concealing his involvement in a program that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses to steal intellectual property from U.S. institutions.
“Simon Ang of the University of Arkansas, was arrested on Friday and charged on Monday with wire fraud,” The New York Times reported. “He worked for and received funding from Chinese companies and from the Thousand Talents program, which awards grants to scientists to encourage relationships with the Chinese government, and he warned an associate to keep his affiliation with the program quiet.”
The Times reported that Ang’s alleged concealment of his financial agreement with the Chinese allowed him to secure funding from U.S. government agencies that ban people who receive funding from China.
“The complaint charges that Ang had close ties with the Chinese government and Chinese companies, and failed to disclose those ties when required to do so in order to receive grant money from NASA,” The Department of Justice said in a statement. “These materially false representations to NASA and the University of Arkansas resulted in numerous wires to be sent and received that facilitated Ang’s scheme to defraud.”
If convicted, Ang faces up to 20 years in prison.
The New York Times added that also on Friday “Dr. Xiao-Jiang Li, a former professor at Emory University in Atlanta, pleaded guilty … to a felony charge of filing a false tax return that omitted about $500,000 that he received from the Thousand Talents program. He was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay $35,089 in restitution.”
In January, federal law enforcement officials arrested a top Harvard scientist, Dr. Charles Lieber, for allegedly lying to the U.S. government about his involvement in the Thousand Talents program.
The New York Times reported that Lieber “was named a University Professor, Harvard’s highest faculty rank, one of only 26 professors to hold that status,” and that “he earned the National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award for inventing syringe-injectable mesh electronics that can integrate with the brain” in 2017.
“According to court documents, since 2008, Dr. Lieber who has served as the Principal Investigator of the Lieber Research Group at Harvard University, which specialized in the area of nanoscience, has received more than $15,000,000 in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense (DOD),” The Department of Justice said in a statement. “These grants require the disclosure of significant foreign financial conflicts of interest, including financial support from foreign governments or foreign entities.”
“Unbeknownst to Harvard University beginning in 2011, Lieber became a ‘Strategic Scientist’ at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China and was a contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan from in or about 2012 to 2017,” the statement said. “China’s Thousand Talents Plan is one of the most prominent Chinese Talent recruit plans that are designed to attract, recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security. These talent programs seek to lure Chinese overseas talent and foreign experts to bring their knowledge and experience to China and reward individuals for stealing proprietary information.”
Prosecutors say that he was paid $50,000 per month, was given $150,000 a year for living expenses, and was given $1.5 million to build a lab in Wuhan.
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