MIT Professor Arrested and Charged with Grant Fraud
Defendant allegedly failed to disclose his work for the People’s Republic of China to U.S. Department of Energy
BOSTON – A professor and researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was charged and arrested today in connection with failing to disclose contracts, appointments and awards from various entities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Gang Chen, 56, was charged by criminal complaint with wire fraud, failing to file a foreign bank account report (FBAR) and making a false statement in a tax return. Chen will make an initial appearance today before Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell.
According to charging documents, Chen is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in China. He is a professor and researcher at MIT where he serves as Director of the MIT Pappalardo Micro/Nano Engineering Laboratory and Director of the Solid-State Solar Thermal Energy Conversion Center (S3TEC). Since approximately 2013, Chen’s research at MIT has been funded by more than $19 million in grants awarded by various U.S. federal agencies.
Since 2012, Chen has allegedly held various appointments with the PRC designed to promote the PRC’s technological and scientific development by providing advice and expertise – sometimes directly to PRC government officials – and often in exchange for financial compensation. This includes acting as an “overseas expert” for the PRC government at the request of the PRC Consulate Office in New York and serving as a member of at least two PRC Talent Programs. Since 2013, Chen allegedly received approximately $29 million of foreign funding, including $19 million from the PRC’s Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech).
It is further alleged that Chen’s efforts to promote the PRC’s scientific and economic development were partially detailed in a February 2016 email that Chen sent himself using his MIT e-mail account. The email read:
1. promote chinese collaboration
2. China places innovation (scientific) as key and core not fashion [sic], but because
we must do it, from historic trend as well from our stage
3. our economy is no. 2, but from technology (structure of economy) and human
resources, we are far from no. 2
4. we are paying big price in environment, not sustainable, as well as from labor cost
5. environment protection and development in same place, environment even higher, clean energy if higher cost, reduce steel, cement. We must count on technology, cannot grow as past
6. communist 18th convention, scientific innovation placed at core. We realize not just independent innovation; but also internationalize to plan for and facilitate. Closed door innovation does not work; innovation as driving force
From at least 2017 to 2019 when Chen was serving in several advisory roles for the PRC and PRC entities, Chen applied for and obtained a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant in order to fund a portion of his research at MIT. In doing so, it is alleged that Chen failed to disclose information about his ongoing affiliations with the PRC as required by DOE.
Chen also allegedly failed to disclose to the IRS in his 2018 tax return that he maintained a bank account in the PRC with more than $10,000 in 2018.
The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of making false statements provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of failing to file an FBAR provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Patrick J. Hegarty, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office; William S. Walker, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigation, Boston; Joleen Simpson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Jim Breckenridge, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann, Chief of Lelling’s National Security Unit, and Jason Casey and Timothy Kistner also of Lelling’s National Security Unit are prosecuting the case with assistance from Trial Attorney David Aaron of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Business groups ask White House to delay Biden Covid vaccine mandate until after the holidays
- White House officials at the OMB are meeting with industry lobbyists as it conducts the final review of President Joe Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate.
- Business groups are asking the administration to wait until after the holiday shopping season to implement the rule.
- They say the mandate could exacerbate labor shortages and supply chain problems.
Worried that President Joe Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate for private companies could cause a mass exodus of employees, business groups are pleading with the White House to delay the rule until after the holiday season.
White House officials at the Office of Management and Budget held dozens of meetings with labor unions, industry lobbyists and private individuals last week as the administration conducts its final review of the mandate, which will require businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure they are vaccinated against Covid or tested weekly for the virus. It is estimated to cover roughly two-thirds of the private sector workforce.
OMB officials have several meetings lined up Monday and Tuesday with groups representing dentists, trucking companies, staffing companies and realtors, among others.
The American Trucking Associations, which will meet with the OMB on Tuesday, warned the administration last week that many drivers will likely quit rather than get vaccinated, further disrupting the national supply chain at time when the industry is already short 80,000 drivers.
The trucking association estimates companies covered by the mandate could lose 37% of drivers through retirements, resignations and workers switching to smaller companies not covered by the requirements.
“Now placing vaccination mandates on employers, which in turn force employees to be vaccinated, will create a workforce crisis for our industry and the communities, families and businesses we serve,” Chris Spear, the association’s president and CEO, wrote in a letter to the OMB last Thursday.
Retailers are also particularly concerned the mandate could trigger a spike in resignations that would exacerbate staffing problems at businesses already short on people, said Evan Armstrong, a lobbyist at the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
“It has been a hectic holiday season already, as you know, with supply chain struggles,” Armstrong told CNBC after a meeting with White House officials last Monday. “This is a difficult policy to implement. It would be even more difficult during the holiday season.”
Thirty percent of unvaccinated workers said they would leave their jobs rather than comply with a vaccine or testing mandate, according to a KFF poll published last month. Goldman Sachs, in an analysis published in September, said the mandate could hurt the already tight labor market. However, it said survey responses are often exaggerated and not as many people will actually quit.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration delivered its final rule to the OMB on Oct. 12, and the mandate is expected to take effect soon after the agency completes its review.
The National Retail Federation, the trucking association and the retail leaders group are asking White House officials to give businesses 90 days to comply with the mandate, delaying implementation until late January at the earliest.
The Business Roundtable told CNBC it supports the White House’s vaccination efforts, but the administration “should allow the time necessary for employers to comply, and that includes taking into account employee retention issues, supply chain challenges and the upcoming holiday season.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which met with the OMB on Oct. 15, also asked the administration to delay implementing the rule until after the holiday season. Officials at the OMB declined to comment on the implementation period.
However, former officials at OSHA, which will enforce the mandate, told CNBC that businesses will likely have some time to implement the rules.
Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of OSHA during the Obama administration, said the administration will probably give businesses about 10 weeks, as they did for federal contractors, until employees have to be fully vaccinated.
McAuliffe, Youngkin tied in Virginia governor race: poll
Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are locked in a tied race nearly one week out from Virginia’s gubernatorial election, according to a poll released on Monday.
The survey from the Republican polling firm Cygnal shows McAuliffe and Youngkin tied at 48.3 percent support each among likely voters in Virginia eight days from Election Day. The poll showed Republicans leading Democrats on the generic General Assembly ballot, 48.7 percent to 47.9 percent, within its margin of error.
The poll also showed relatively high unfavorable ratings in Virginia for President Biden, who is watching this race ahead of next year’s midterm elections. Fifty percent of likely voters said they had an unfavorable view of the president, while 48 percent said they had a favorable view of him. McAuliffe, who comes from Biden’s wing of the Democratic Party, has tied himself to the president since the beginning of the campaign. Biden will campaign with McAuliffe on Tuesday in Arlington, Va.
Down the ballot, Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial nominee Hala Ayala narrowly leads her Republican counterpart, Winsome Sears, 47.1 percent to 46.8 percent. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) also led GOP opponent Jason Miyares, 47.6 percent to 46.6 percent.
On the generic General Assembly ballot, Republicans led Democrats by just 1 percentage point. All 100 seats in the state’s House of Delegates, where Democrats currently hold a 10-seat majority, are up for grabs.
JUDGE: TEEN IN OPPOSITE GENDER BATHROOM DID RAPE GIRL
Facts Sufficient To Find Loudoun County Teen Engaged In Nonconsensual Sex
A Virginia court ruled Monday that there is enough evidence to find that a teen accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student in a Loudoun County high school bathroom in May “engaged in non-consensual sex.”
The Daily Wire broke the story of the sexual assault in Loudoun County last month, bringing to light two alleged rapes at two separate schools, one of which involved Scott Smith’s daughter. Smith was later arrested at a Loudoun County school board meeting — an incident that was later used to argue to the Biden administration that federal intervention was needed to prevent such incidents from rising to the level of “domestic terrorism.”
The teen who appeared in court on Monday is standing trial on two separate cases: one involving a female student at Stone Bridge High School and a different incident in a classroom at Broad Run High School, both in the Loudoun County school district. The teen, who reportedly identifies as “gender fluid” is alleged to have assaulted Scott Smith’s daughter in a girl’s restroom at Stone Bridge while wearing a skirt. Despite indications that he had committed a serious crime, the boy was transferred.
Just months later, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement indicating that a second sexual assault happened at Broad Run.
“A teenager from Ashburn has been charged with sexual battery and abduction of a fellow student at Broad Run High School. The investigation determined on the afternoon of October 6, the 15-year-old suspect forced the victim into an empty classroom where he held her against her will and inappropriately touched her,” the Sheriff’s department said in a release.
Sources told The Daily Wire last month that the two incidents involved the same alleged attacker; later reports from Fox News and the Daily Mail confirmed that the same student was involved in both incidents.
The alleged attacker was expected to plead guilty at a court hearing in Loudoun County on October 14, following the negotiation of a plea agreement. The second attack, however, happened on October 6th, and the Smith family was later told that the two incidents would be dealt with at the same time, during a hearing on October 25th.
On Monday, at the planned hearing, a judge found sufficient evidence that the teen sexually assaulted a fellow student in May. A sentencing hearing will be held at a later date, likely November.
“We are relieved that justice was served today for the Smith’s daughter. This horrible incident has deeply affected the Smith family, and they are grateful for today’s outcome,” the family’s attorney said in a statement.
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