- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2020

A professor with ties to a controversial group that the Trump administration has accused of stealing U.S. intellectual property was charged with grant fraud, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.

Song Guo Zheng, 57, a rheumatology professor and researcher at the Ohio State University, was arrested in late May, the Justice Department said.

Prosecutors say he engaged in “a sophisticated medical grant fraud scheme” to fraudulently obtain more than $4.3 million in U.S. taxpayer-funded grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Mr. Zheng is accused of failing to disclose his affiliation with a Chinese Talent Plan, a program established by Beijing to recruit U.S. researchers. The Trump administration has accused the Chinese Talent Plans as a front to steal American intellectual property.

Mr. Zheng’s connections to the talent program would have likely disqualified him from the research grants.

He is the latest researcher to be indicated for failing to reveal Chinese connections.

Earlier this year, federal prosecutors charged the chairman of Harvard University’s chemistry department with lying to the U.S. Department of Defense about his ties to a Chinese talent recruitment program.

“Yet again, we are faced with a professor at a U.S. University, who is a member of a Chinese Talent Plan, allegedly and deliberately failing to disclose his relationship with a Chinese university and receipt of funds from the Chinese Government in order to obtain millions of dollars in U.S. grant money designed to benefit the health and well-being of the people of the United States — not to be hijacked to supplement the research goals of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.

A criminal complaint against Mr. Zheng was unsealed in federal court in Columbus, Ohio Thursday. He is charged felony counts of fraud or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and making false statements for alleged crimes dating back about seven years.

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