FILE - The U.S. Department of Justice headquarters building is seen in Washington, July 13, 2018.
FILE - The U.S. Department of Justice headquarters building is seen in Washington, July 13, 2018.

U.S. authorities have arrested and charged an MIT professor with accepting foreign money, much of it from China, and not disclosing it.

Gang Chen was arrested Thursday at his home and charged with wire fraud, failing to file a foreign bank account report and making a false statement in a tax return, the Department of Justice said in a news release.

Chen worked as director of the MIT Pappalardo Micro/Nano Engineering Laboratory and director of the Solid-State Solar Thermal Energy Conversion Center.

Since 2013, Chen’s research has been funded by more than $19 million in federal grants, the DOJ said. During that same time, he reportedly received approximately $29 million of foreign funding, including $19 million from the PRC’s Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech).

“He was working for the Chinese government while securing U.S. research dollars,” U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling told reporters.

Lelling added that “the Chinese government would rather siphon off U.S. technology instead of doing the work themselves.”

 “It is not illegal to collaborate with foreign researchers. It is illegal to lie about it,” he added.

FILE - A general view of the Department of Justice building is seen in Washington, Feb 1, 2018.
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The charge of wire fraud carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Making false statements carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Failing to disclose a foreign bank account carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, according to the DOJ.