Southern Illinois University – Carbondale (SIUC) mathematics professor and researcher Mingqing Xiao has been charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count of creating a false statement.
According to a press release by the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Illinois, Xiao fraudulently acquired federal grant money from the National Science Foundation (NSF) amounting to $151,099 without properly disclosing his ties with the Chinese government and a Chinese institution.
“Again, an American professor stands accused of enabling the Chinese government’s efforts to corruptly benefit from US research funding by lying about his obligations to, and support from, an arm of the Chinese government and a Chinese public university,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said.
University Grant Fraud
The SIUC lecturer has worked in the mathematics department for more than two decades. His research concentrates on partial differential equations, control theory, optimization theory, dynamical systems, and computational science.
During his employment, Xiao supposedly applied for an NSF grant to work on a four-year project that started in 2019. Xiao received the money but failed to disclose that he had already received financial support from the NSF in Guangdong, China.
The release also reported that Xiao is on the payroll of Shenzhen University, a public university in Guangdong Province, as he is committed to teach and conduct research for the institution from 2018 to 2023, commitments which he did not reveal to authorities.
“University grant fraud allows China to co-opt US research and development at a fraction of the cost. Prosecutions like this one play an important role, not just in protecting American investments in academic research from foreign exploitation, but also in combating the growing threat that China poses to our national security,” US Attorney Steven Weinhoeft stated.
Xiao is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years for each count of wire fraud and five years for making a false statement. Each charge is also punishable by a $250,000 fine. SIUC said that as it starts its own investigation on the case, Xiao will be placed on administrative leave.