Browsing Tag

University professor

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Judge junks major convictions against Kansas researcher accused of secret China work

  • U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson in Kansas City, Kansas, ruled on Tuesday that there was “no evidence” to convict University of Kansas chemical engineering professor Feng "Franklin" Tao on defrauding the university and two agencies that funded his research.  
  • In April, Tao was convicted by a jury in the same court of not disclosing his affiliation with Fuzhou University in China to the University of Kansas, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation after he allegedly claimed he had no conflicts of interest. 
  • According to prosecutors, Tao signed up to be a full-time employee with Fuzhou University while he was supposed to be working on renewable energy projects at the University of Kansas in 2018.
  • In her recent ruling, Robinson pointed out that while Tao had been "deceptive" in concealing his activities in China, the prosecution did not establish any "evidence that Tao obtained money or property through the alleged scheme to defraud, as required under the wire fraud statute."
  • Tao's lawyer Peter Zeidenberg believes the new decision will put an end to the crackdown on suspected Chinese espionage within the U.S. academe pursued by the Justice Department during former President Donald Trump's administration.

A federal court cited insufficient evidence in junking a scientist’s most serious convictions for doing secret work in China while conducting U.S.-funded research.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson in Kansas City upheld only one count of making a false statement but ruled that there was not any evidence to convict University of Kansas chemical engineering professor Feng “Franklin” Tao on three wire fraud counts.

Math professor convicted of failing to report Chinese bank account gets probation

Xiao Mingqing
  • A math professor at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale was sentenced on Monday to a year of probation after he was found guilty of tax return errors and failing to disclose a Chinese bank account.
  • District Judge Staci Yandle was asked by prosecutors to impose a one-year prison sentence against professor Xiao Mingqing, but the judge said that served no purpose.
  • The professor was also fined $600 as opposed to the thousands of dollars suggested in the federal sentencing guidelines, according to court documents.
  • He was indicted in April 2021 and charged with three counts of fraud.
  • A GoFundMe campaign with a $350,000 goal has been created to help Xiao with legal expenses.

A math professor at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale was sentenced on Monday to a year of probation after he was found guilty of tax return errors and failing to disclose a foreign bank account under the China Initiative.

District Judge Staci Yandle was asked by prosecutors to impose a one-year prison sentence against professor Xiao Mingqing, but the judge said that served no purpose.