A federal jury found a former University of Kansas professor guilty of concealing his Chinese government links.
Feng Tao, also known as Franklin Tao, 50, was found guilty by a federal jury on Thursday of three charges of wire fraud and one count of false statements after concealing his employment at a Chinese government-affiliated institution.
According to the Department of Justice, while at the University of Kansas, Tao was working on research financed by the US government while employed by a Chinese government university.
According to court filings, Tao took a post as a Changjiang Scholar Distinguished Professor at China’s Fuzhou University in 2018, which obliged him to work full-time at the university.
Tao was supposed to make annual reports of any outside job that may represent a conflict of interest as a member of the Institution of Kansas faculty, and the Department of Justice claims that Tao did not tell the university about the position and lied in an attempt to conceal it.
Authorities further believe that after traveling to China to work full-time at Fuzhou University, Tao lied to the University of Kansas administration, stating that he was in Europe rather.
According to the Department of Justice, Tao performed research under contracts between the US government and the institution throughout his employment as a faculty member at the University of Kansas. According to the press release, he forced the institution to file hundreds of thousands of dollars in reimbursement claims to the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation for grant-related costs.
According to the Department of Justice, Tao certified electronic records indicating that he made the required disclosures and understood the US government’s and the University of Kansas’ policies.
For wire fraud, he could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. According to the Department of Justice, he may face up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the program fraud offenses.