Pair was allegedly pocketing the money given by NASA for their startup instead of paying graduate students to do the work
From AP and web reports:
Professor, Wife Sentenced After Defrauding NASA
The duo told NASA that their startup company would develop a cutting-edge sensor used to track climate change. Instead, prosecutors alleged, they used the company to funnel money to themselves.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A university professor in Pennsylvania has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison on a conviction of defrauding NASA by letting graduate students and researchers do all the work on a $700,000 project.
U.S. District Court Judge Harvey Bartle III also ordered Yujie Ding on Wednesday to pay a fine of $3,000 and restitution of $72,000. His wife, Yuliya Zotova, was sentenced to three months in prison.
Authorities said the Lehigh University engineering professor and his wife told NASA that their startup company ArkLight would develop a cutting-edge sensor used to track climate change. Instead, prosecutors alleged, they used the company “as a front to funnel federal grant money to themselves for research performed by students and others.”
Jurors convicting the couple of six of 10 fraud counts.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, from August 2009 through July 2010, the pair submitted proposals to NASA seeking research funding by claiming that their business, ArkLight, was doing research and subcontracting work to Lehigh University where Ding was a professor.
Instead, an investigation found that the pair used ArkLight “as a front to funnel federal grant money to themselves for research performed by students and others working under Ding’s supervision at his university lab.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the defendants sent invoices to NASA for research that, a jury found, ArkLight had not participated in.
Here is the Federal Indictment: federal_indictment_ding_zotova (PDF)
h/t to WUWT reader “average joe”