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領美研究经費 又為中國大學工作 華裔副教授遭起訴

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8/22/2019

領美研究費 又為中國大學工作 華裔副教授遭訴

(World Journal) 編譯季晶晶


美國堪薩斯大學研究人員陶峰21日遭美國聯邦詐欺罪名起訴。取自西安交通大学前沿科學技術研究院應用化學研究中心官網

美國司法部說,堪薩斯大學一位研究人員周三(21日)遭多項聯邦詐欺罪名起訴,他被指控在進行美國政府贊助的研究計畫時,隱瞞與中國一所大學的關係。

現年47歲的陶峰(Feng Franklin Tao)是在堪薩斯大學研究中心進行永續技術研究的副教授,起訴罪名包括一項電匯詐欺和三項專案計畫詐欺。

此時正值美國官員日益擔心中國帶給美國大學的風險,針對華府認為中國有時會採取非法手段獲取長足的技術進展,川普政府欲與北京正面對抗。

在美中貿易戰持續進行之際,美方情報官員已發布有關智財權竊盜或間諜活動的警告。但中國否認有此類活動。

根據司法部,陶峰在堪薩斯大學進行由美國能源部與國家科學基金會簽約贊助的研究計畫時,隱瞞他為中國福州大學工作的事實。

他被指控在2018年5月簽下五年合約,成為福州大學全職人員。堪薩斯大學要求陶峰每年就利益衝突進行申報,但陶峰在這些表格裡「偽稱」沒有任何利益衝突。起訴書說,陶峰自能源部和國家科學基金會詐領逾3萬7000美元。

陶峰接下來必須決定認罪或提出無罪抗辯。目前還不知道陶峰是否為美國公民,以及是否接觸機密資料。

如果被定罪,陶峰將因電匯詐欺罪名面臨最高20年刑期和最高25萬美元罰款,每項專案計畫詐欺罪名是最高10年刑期和最多25萬美元罰款。

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Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 21, 2019

University of Kansas Researcher Indicted for Fraud for Failing to Disclose Conflict of Interest with Chinese University

A researcher at the University of Kansas (KU) was indicted today on federal charges of hiding the fact he was working full time for a Chinese university while doing research at KU funded by the U.S. government.

Feng “Franklin” Tao, 47, of Lawrence, Kansas, an associate professor at KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC), is charged with one count of wire fraud and three counts of program fraud.  He was employed since August 2014 by the CEBC, whose mission is to conduct research on sustainable technology to conserve natural resources and energy.

“Tao is alleged to have defrauded the U.S. government by unlawfully receiving federal grant money at the same time that he was employed and paid by a Chinese research university — a fact that he hid from his university and federal agencies,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers for National Security.  “Any potential conflicts of commitment by a researcher must be disclosed as required by law and university policies.  The Department will continue to pursue any unlawful failure to do so.”

The indictment alleges that in May 2018 Tao signed a five-year contract with Fuzhou University in China that designated him as a Changjiang Scholar Distinguished Professor.  The contract required him to be a full time employee of the Chinese university.  While Tao was under contract with Fuzhou University, he was conducting research at KU that was funded through two U.S. Department of Energy contracts and four National Science Foundation contracts.



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Kansas Board of Regents’ policy requires staff to file an annual conflict of interest report.  In Tao’s reports to KU, he falsely claimed to have no conflicts of interest.  The indictment alleges that he fraudulently received more than $37,000 in salary paid for by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the wire fraud count, and up to 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each of the program fraud counts.

The defendant will make his initial appearance Friday, August 23, 2019, in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas. 

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the assigned judge.

The University of Kansas cooperated and assisted in the FBI’s investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Mattivi is prosecuting.

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.  The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.







6/16/2019

Tulane Professors Indicted

By Nick Hazelrigg

Two Tulane University faculty members have been indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana on charges of attempting to steal trade secrets from a water research institution called the Water Institute of the Gulf. The two faculty members, Ehab Meselhe and Kelin Hu, were previously employed by the Water Institute of the Gulf. The indictment alleges the two attempted to steal a hydrosimulation computer program.

Tulane spokesman Michael Strecker said there has been no claim of impropriety on the university's part, and Meselhe and Hu's employment status will be determined after Tulane conducts an internal review. A lawyer for Meselhe told local news outlet WAFB9 in a statement that Meselhe denies all charges against him and expects to be "completely exonerated."



Source: https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2019/06/06/tulane-professors-indicted




6/09/2019

华裔科学家自毁前程 在美窃密被当场活捉

  美国路易斯安那州两名科学家被指控试图窃取“海湾水研究所”(Water Institute of the Gulf)的知识产权,其中一位是今年1月被当场抓了现行、正在下载机密档案的华裔科学家。

  根据法庭文件,53岁的杜兰大学(Tulane University)教授伊哈伯‧梅塞尔(Ehab Meselhe)和42岁的研究助理教授胡克霖(音译,Kelin Hu)于5月29日被起诉,面临共谋窃取商业机密、电脑欺诈,以及侵犯知识产权的指控。两人均在6月4日被捕。

  联邦检察官表示,梅塞尔及胡克霖涉嫌共谋窃取及转移海湾水研究所的知识产权,包括预测密西西比河三角洲未来演变的高度敏感计算机模型中的重要软件。他们两人都曾是该研究所的研究人员。

  梅塞尔及胡克霖都不认罪,梅塞尔的律师麦克‧马格纳(Mike Magner)称他的客户是无辜的。目前还不知道胡克霖是否聘请律师。

  胡克霖来自中国,2003年取得华东师范大学(East China Normal University)自然地理学博士学位,2008年到路易斯安那州州立大学(Louisiana State University)从事博士后研究,此后一直留在美国,专精模拟分析沿海和河口地区的风暴潮、飓风波、泥沙输移和形态变化等。



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  法庭文件说,胡克霖及梅塞尔涉嫌下载了海湾水研究所大量关键和秘密的计算机文件。其后,两人共谋取得“全流域模型”(Basin Wide Model)模拟计划以获取利益。该模型是海湾水研究所的竞争优势,并因此取得价值数百万美元的咨询合同。

  根据起诉书,来自埃及开罗的梅塞尔于去年10月辞去在海湾水研究所的职务,胡克霖则是在今年1月份试图下载机密档案时被“逮个正着”,并因此被解雇。

  杜兰大学公共关系总监迈克尔‧斯特瑞克(Michael Strecker)6月5日在一封电子邮件中表示,梅塞尔及胡克霖过去一年成为该大学的教职员,该校行政管理人员正在配合联邦当局的调查工作,并将在完成“内部审查”后决定这两位科学家的去留。

  海湾水研究所总裁兼首席执行官贾斯汀‧埃伦威尔斯(Justin Ehrenwerth)在一份声明中表示,该机构对此事件“深感困扰和悲伤”,并聘请了外部顾问来加强内部安全。






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6/09/2019

Tulane scientists accused of trying to steal trade secrets

Both men maintain their innocence
Author: WWLTV.com, Chevel Johnson, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two Louisiana scientists have been charged with trying to steal trade secrets from the Water Institute of the Gulf, a hydrology research institution in Baton Rouge.

Federal prosecutors say 53-year-old Ehab Meselhe and 42-year-old Kelin Hu face conspiracy charges involving trade secrets and computer fraud and abuse.

The men were indicted May 29 but the document remained sealed until their arrests Tuesday.

Meselhe and Hu are full-time faculty members at Tulane University. Federal prosecutors allege the transfer and theft of intellectual property from the Water Institute, where both previously worked.

Meselhe's attorney Mike Magner says his client is innocent. It was unknown if Hu has an attorney.

"Dr. Meselhe has an impeccable reputation within the professional and academic community in Louisiana and nationally," Magner told WWL-TV. "Besides the fact that Dr. Meselhe developed the computer modeling programs at issue in this case, most of them are and have been available to the public, scientific and engineering communities, and other public and non-profit institutions for the purpose of protecting Louisiana’s coast.  Dr. Meselhe is not guilty of the crimes alleged, and he looks forward to having his day in court where we expect that he will be completely exonerated."

Both men have pleaded not guilty.


Source: https://www.wwltv.com/article/news/crime/tulane-scientists-accused-of-trying-to-steal-trade-secrets/289-915054de-55ca-41bd-bd0d-0ec896eb9030





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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Two Louisiana Residents Indicted for Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets, Attempting to Steal Trade Secrets, Conspiracy to Commit Computer Fraud and Abuse, and Committing Computer Fraud and Abuse

A federal grand jury recently returned a four-count indictment charging EHAB MESELHE, age 53, a U.S. citizen living in Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana, and KELIN HU, age 42, a Chinese citizen, lawfully living in the United States, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with conspiracy to steal trade secrets, attempting to steal trade secrets, and conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse.  HU was also charged with committing computer fraud and abuse.  MESELHE and HU appeared for their arraignment in court and pleaded not guilty to the pending charges. 

The indictment alleges that MESELHE and HU, former employees of the Water Institute of the Gulf (“Water Institute”), engaged in a plan to steal computer trade secrets from the Water Institute.  The Water Institute is an applied scientific research organization in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which studies and consults on land subsidence, storms, rising sea levels, and other coastal threats.  Of special importance to this work was a highly valuable and closely protected computer program that allowed the Water Institute to project how the natural environment of the Mississippi Delta will change over time.



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According to the allegations contained in the indictment, MESELHE and HU planned and attempted to take the trade secrets from the Water Institute computer network, download them to personal electronic devices, and then misappropriate those trade secrets for their own economic benefit.

The indictment further alleges that MESELHE instructed HU about which computer files to copy, making sure they included the trade secret, when to copy them in relation to HU’s anticipated resignation from the Water Institute, and how to communicate with MESELHE via personal Google Message and email so as to avoid detection by the Water Institute.  According to the indictment, HU was attempting to download the computer files of the Water Institute, as MESELHE had instructed, to personal computer devices HU had brought into his office, when he was caught in the act.


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U.S. Attorney Brandon J. Fremin stated, “Theft of proprietary information and intellectual property for personal gain will not be tolerated by this office, especially where the theft is from a research institution whose purpose is to study environmental impacts so that we can best protect our citizens from natural and man-made disasters and other coastal threats. Businesses, universities, and many other organizations like the Water Institute invest tremendous amounts of time, talent and money in creating proprietary information to advance their various missions – they should be protected too.  I commend our prosecutor and the FBI for their outstanding efforts and for leading a complex investigation that culminated in this indictment. I would also like to acknowledge the quick response from the Baton Rouge Police Department in bringing this very important matter to our attention.”

This matter was initiated by Baton Rouge Police Department and is being investigated by the Baton Rouge Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian Frazier. 

NOTE: An indictment is an accusation by a grand jury.  The defendants are presumed innocent until and unless adjudicated guilty at trial or through a guilty plea. 












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