On Thursday, a federal jury convicted a former University of Kansas professor of hiding his ties to the Chinese government. Feng Tao, also known as Franklin Tao, 50, was convicted of three counts of wire fraud and one count of false statements by a federal jury after purposefully hiding that he was employed by a government affiliated university in China, according to a report from Fox News.
While Tao was working for a government university in China, he was also working on research funded by the U.S. government while at the University of Kansas, according to the Department of Justice.
In 2018, Tao began working at Fuzhou University as a Changjiang Scholar Distinguished Professor, which required him to be a full-time employee of the university, court documents stated. While employed as a professor by the University of Kansas, Tao was required to file annual reports of any outside employment that could be a conflict of interest. According to the DOJ, Tao never made any reference to his position at the CCP affiliated Fuzhou University during his tenure with Kansas.
Authorities also stated that Tao lied to the University of Kansas after moving back to China in order to work full-time at Fuzhou. While teaching in China, he reportedly told administrators that he was in Europe.
During his time as a faculty member at the University of Kansas, Tao also conducted research under contracts between the U.S. government and the university, according to the DOJ. The Department of Justice also states that Tao certified electronic documents which indicated that he made the necessary disclosures and understood the polices of the U.S. government and the University of Kansas.
The former professor now faces up to 20 years in U.S. federal prison, as well as fine of $250,000 for wire fraud. Additionally, Tao faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the program fraud counts, according to the Department of Justice.