The FBI arrested a University of Arkansas investigator for fraud who received millions of dollars from the U.S. government but hid the payments he was receiving from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 63, the director of the Center for High-Density Electronics, has received $5 million since 2013 for his research projects from various entities including NASA.
“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,” according to the Western District Court of Arkansas.
Ang’s crime was discovered accidentally, after a hard drive of his was delivered to the lost and found office at the University of Arkansas.
An employee who was trying to find out who the item belonged to opened a file in which he discovered several emails from 2018, in which Ang communicated with a Chinese investigator revealing that he was part of the Thousand Talent Program, used by the CCP to illegally obtain trade secrets in the United States.
“Not many people here know I am one of them but if this leaks out, my job here will be in deep troubles,” Ang said in the emails to his colleague in China, referring to the controversial program, according to the lawsuit document.
In addition, Ang also used the name Hong Sizhong, a name he linked to another system used by the CCP called the 30 Thousand Talents Program experts, the FBI said.
Through the Thousand Talent Program, the CCP buys the services of entrepreneurs, scientists, and experts, often in secret, to get the best out of the technology and research developed in the country, for their benefit.
If convicted, Ang could face up to 20 years in prison.
The American academic world is the beneficiary of large amounts of money secretly distributed by the CCP to universities.
Harvard and Yale universities were accused of hiding hundreds of millions of dollars received from foreign countries like China and Saudi Arabia, among others.
Currently, the FBI is investigating more than 1,000 cases in which it believes the CCP stole research from American companies, through espionage.