Former University of Arkansas Professor Jailed for Lying to Federal Agents About Patents in China

Former University of Arkansas Professor Jailed for Lying to Federal Agents About Patents in China
The U.S. Department of Justice seal on the stage at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, on Dec. 5, 2019. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Frank Yue
A former professor at the University of Arkansas was sentenced on June 16 to a year and a day in prison followed by one year of supervised release on one count of providing a false statement to the FBI regarding the existence of patents for his inventions in China, according to the Department of Justice.
Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 64, of Fayetteville, filed 24 patents that bear Ang’s name or Chinese birth name in the country, according to court documents. However, he did not disclose his Chinese patents to the university, where he worked as a professor.

University authorities required individuals like Ang to promptly furnish “full and complete” disclosures of inventions. According to an internal policy, the school, not individual inventors, would own all inventions created by those subject to the policy.

This policy was established “in furtherance of the commitment of the university to the widest possible distribution of the benefits of university research, the protection of inventions resulting from such research, and the development of inventions for the public good.”

More than that, Ang lied about his involvement in the inventions when an FBI agent interviewed him surrounding the subject, the DOJ said. He denied being listed as the inventor of patents in China, though he knew he was, according to the DOJ.

Additionally, Ang received numerous talent awards from the Chinese regime, which he did not list on the university’s annual conflict of interest disclosure forms.

Beijing has launched a massive recruitment program of global experts, also known as the Thousand Talents Program, a controversial state-backed hiring scheme since 2008 to transfer Western research and technology to the communist regime.

Public data show the sweeping, ambitious plans have siphoned off prominent scholars and experts with hefty compensation globally, especially from the United States, the world’s largest economy. Their fields of study include biomedical engineering, advanced manufacturing, aerospace engineering, and new materials.

In one case, chemist You Xiaorong, also known as Shannon You, on May 9 received a sentence of 14 years in prison for a scheme to steal trade secrets, engage in economic espionage, and commit fraud. The 59-year-old of Chinese descent was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay a $200,000 fine.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the DOJ’s National Security Division described the sentence as signaling the seriousness of You’s offense, as well as the DOJ’s commitment to protect U.S. security by “investigating and prosecuting those who steal U.S. companies’ intellectual property.”

In another case, senior NASA scientist Meyya Meyyappan was sentenced to 30 days in prison as well as a fine of $100,000 in June 2021 for making false statements to the NASA Office of Inspector General, the FBI, and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to the DOJ.

The expert, who held a trusted position and had access to sensitive and confidential U.S. government technologies and intellectual property at NASA, concealed his participation in a Chinese recruitment plan.

Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China.
Related Topics