Rheumatology professor sentenced in research fraud scheme

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 7:02 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A professor and researcher formerly with Ohio State University has been sentenced to 37 months in prison for a research fraud scheme, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Ohio.

In May 2020, Song Guo Zheng was arrested in Anchorage as he tried to make his way back to China. Following his arrest, Zheng pleaded guilty to lying on grant applications to obtain $4.1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to develop China’s expertise in rheumatology and immunology.

“For years the defendant concealed his participation in Chinese government talent recruitment programs, hiding his affiliations with at least five research institutions in China,” said Alan E. Kohler Jr., assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “Zheng greedily took federal research dollars and prevented others from receiving funding for critical research in support of medical advances. The FBI will continue to pursue people wherever they may be, even on a plane, in Alaska, in the middle of the night.”

According to the Friday release, Zheng is being ordered to pay more than $3.4 million in restitution to the National Institutes of Health and about $413,000 to Ohio State University.

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