The Justice Department has charged a former University of Florida professor from Tampa with fraud after allegedly pilfering nearly $2 million from the federal government.
In an indictment unsealed on Wednesday, federal prosecutors asserted Lin Yang, a former Tampa resident who returned to China in 2019, hid his links to the Chinese government in applying for grants from the National Institutes of Health.
Yang was charged with six counts of wire fraud and four counts of making false statements to the U.S. government, according to the Washington Examiner.
Prosecutors said Yang received $1.75 million from NIH to develop an imaging informatics tool for muscles, called the “MuscleMiner,” yet also set up a business in China promoted it there as a U.S. government project, the Examiner reported.
Neither the NIH nor UF, where Yang was an associate professor in the biomedical engineering department, knew of his double dealing.
Assistant Attorney General John Demers, who prosecutes crimes affecting national security, said, “Rather than being open about his ties to the People’s Republic of China, the defendant chose to conceal them, in the process advancing both the Chinese government’s strategic goals and his own financial interests.”
Th Examiner reported that Yang worked at UF from 2014 and 2019. Yang reportedly was involved in a Chinese government initiative known as a “talent plan,” which the indictment said encouraged “the transfer of original ideas, technology, and intellectual property from foreign institutions, such as American universities, to PRC (People’s Republic of China) institutions.”
A UF spokesperson told the Examiner that the university “cooperated fully” with the feds, “as is our responsibility as a public institution and a steward of taxpayer monies.”
Demers noted that back in December that more than 1,000 researchers connected to the Chinese military left America in 2020 once the feds implemented a crackdown.