Simon Ang ‘received money and benefits from China and was closely associated with various companies based in China,’ feds allege
A University of Arkansas-Fayetteville engineering professor with links to China has been indicted on 42 counts of wire fraud and two counts of passport fraud, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.
Simon Ang, 63, former head of the UA High Density Electronics Center, was arrested in May on allegations that he did not reveal his connections to China when he applied for grants from NASA.
In announcing the indictment this week, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers stated in a news release that the case represents “a hallmark [of] China’s targeting of research and academic collaborations within the United States in order to obtain U.S. technology illegally.”
A UA spokesman told the Arkansas Times Ang was terminated from his job July 2.
University of Arkansas Professor Indicted for Wire Fraud and Passport Fraud https://t.co/sgkFbF7xLE
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) July 29, 2020
As The College Fix previously reported in May, the investigation reportedly began when a UA employee discovered a hard drive in the school library’s lost-and-found. On it were emails allegedly from Ang which stated “there are things that are becoming very difficult for me recently because of the political climate” and “I have to be very careful or else I may be out of my job from this university.”
In another, Ang allegedly wrote “You can search the Chinese website regarding what the US will do to Thousand Talent Scholars. Not many people here know I am one of them but if this leaks out, my job here will be in deep troubles.”
According to federal investigators:
Ang was a professor and researcher at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 1988. At the University of Arkansas, Ang served as the Director of the High Density Electronics Center (HiDEC) until on or about May 8, 2020. During his employment with the University of Arkansas and as director of the HiDEC, Ang was the investigator and co-investigator for many grant contracts that were funded by United States Government Agencies. Annually, the University of Arkansas required Ang to disclose any conflicts of interest, including outside employment. Agents working with the FBI discovered that Ang received money and benefits from China and was closely associated with various companies based in China during the same time that he was receiving grants from various United States Government Agencies. The agents discovered that Ang did not disclose these conflicts of interest, even when specifically required to do so by the University of Arkansas and NASA, one of the agencies that awarded Ang and his research associates a Federal grant.
If convicted, Ang faces 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count and 10 years in federal prison for each passport fraud count, the feds stated.
The news on Ang came one day after the Justice Department announced new charges against former Harvard University chemistry and chemical biology department Charles Lieber, who is similarly accused of conspiring with China.
The law enforcement activities come as GOP lawmakers have pledged to look into China’s influence in American universities as the communist giant “has strategically invested in U.S. academia to attempt to steal confidential information and technology from U.S. companies and even the U.S. government.”
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