Suspended Arkansas professor charged with wire fraud over China ties

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(Natural News) A professor at the University of Arkansas (UA) was indicted by a federal grand jury in Arkansas on multiple charges of passport and wire fraud connected to his failure to disclose ties to China and Chinese companies.

Malaysian-born Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 63, had been a professor and researcher at UA since 1988. In May, Ang was arrested on wire fraud charges and subsequently suspended from the university without pay.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Ang was indicted on 42 accounts of wire fraud and two counts of passport fraud.

“This is a hallmark of China’s targeting of research and academic collaborations within the United States in order to obtain U.S. technology illegally,” stated U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, in a press release issued by the DOJ on July 29.

Ang failed to disclose payments from China while working with the university and federal agencies

According to DOJ investigators, Ang had been receiving payments and other benefits from China while he was working as director of UA’s High-Density Electronics Center. This was a position that would have required him to disclose any conflicts of interest or anything that might appear to be a conflict – something he did not do.

In addition to receiving payments from the Chinese government, Ang allegedly also held high-ranking positions in multiple Chinese companies. This was on top of actually being the part-owner of at least one, according to the federal indictment.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) allege that Ang failed to disclose these conflicts not just to the university, but also to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Air Force when he sent in research proposals to both.


Beyond failing to disclose these conflicts of interest, however, Ang supposedly used his position to have researchers under his supervision conduct work on behalf of the Chinese companies that he was involved with. This was all while these researchers were being paid by the university and federal agencies.

Should he be convicted, Ang faces up to 20 years in prison for each wire charge fraud and up to 10 years in prison for each count of passport fraud.

China’s “Thousand Talents” program strikes again

Ang was recruited by China under its “Thousand Talents” program. In 2016, Ang had actually been recognized as a “National Distinguished Expert” under the program.

On the surface, the program is supposedly meant to draw top scientists and experts from around the world to work on projects in China. Recently, however, it has drawn scrutiny from U.S. authorities who believe that it’s being used to facilitates the transfer of American intellectual property to China.

Ang isn’t the first university professor to be indicted for their involvement in the program this year. In June, a grand jury indicted Charles Lieber, former chair of Harvard University’s department of chemistry.

Like Ang, Lieber had also lied about his ties to China, denying his involvement in the program even as he continued to receive funding from the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health.

During this time, Lieber allegedly abused his position at Harvard to enter into agreements with the Wuhan University of Technology (WUT). He had even helped establish a joint research lab at WUT using the Harvard name but without the latter’s consent. For this, he received a $1.5 million paycheck.

On Tuesday, July 28, the DOJ announced new charges against Lieber. This time, he now faces two counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts and two counts of subscribing a false income tax return.

Both Lieber and Ang’s cases demonstrate the reach of the “Thousand Talents” program in attracting experts within U.S. academia into assisting China. That two well-established professors, both already holding significant positions, could be tempted by the promise of further accolades and financial compensation raises questions of whether other experts have been lured by it as well.

Follow for more on how China is trying to infiltrate American academia and steal its technology.

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