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.
“These tax charges were more worthy of civil remedies (if they were worthy of any enforcement action) and would never have been brought but for the charging of grant fraud for which Dr. Xiao was ultimately acquitted,” Ryan Poscablo, Xiao’s lawyer, said following the sentencing, according to Science.org.
The professor was also fined $600 as opposed to the thousands of dollars suggested in the federal sentencing guidelines, according to court documents.
Xiao, who was born in Guangzhou, China, was acquitted by a jury of making a false statement about a grant application he submitted to the National Science Foundation, which offered him $151,099 for research in 2019.
He was indicted in April 2021 and charged with three counts of fraud. The charges are punishable by a fine of $250,000, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Illinois.
Xiao is currently on paid administrative leave, according to the university, which conducted an investigation into his case.
“Any discipline will be in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement between SIU and the SIU Faculty Association,” a university spokesperson said in May. “That agreement includes opportunities for Dr. Xiao to respond to any allegations.”
A GoFundMe campaign with a $350,000 goal has been created to help Xiao with legal expenses.
Featured Image via GoFundMe