WSU professor arrested, charged in wire fraud schemes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

WSU professor arrested, charged in wire fraud schemes

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WSU professor arrested, charged in wire fraud schemes totaling $8 million WSU professor arrested, charged in wire fraud schemes totaling $8 million

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A professor at Washington State University has been arrested in a series of wire fraud schemes, where he allegedly spent money intended for business research on personal expenses.

41-year-old Haifang (Harry) Wen, his brother Bin (Ben) Wen, and Bin's wife Pang (Jessica) Wen were arrested for conspiring to and making false statements to federal agencies, wire fraud, and conspiring to spend the proceeds that came from those false statements, among other charges. The charges they're facing carry a penalty of up to 30 years behind bars and a $1 million fine. 

Haifang Wen was living in Pullman and teaching at WSU at the time of his arrest. WSU's faculty webpage lists him as an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, as well as the Director of the Washington Center for Asphalt Technology (WCAT).

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Junior said of the crimes: “This fraud scheme had the effect of depriving deserving businesses of the opportunity for research funds, while simultaneously hurting the very Western New York communities where the research and work were most needed. This Office will continue to protect federal taxpayers, the agencies that expend public money, and legitimate businesses which seek to fairly compete for research dollars.”     

The Wens are accused of receiving 30 grants totaling $8 million from federal agencies like the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. The grant money was supposed to be used for the development of asphaly composition technology, but was instead dispersed through the Wen's personal bank accounts. 

The Wens will appear in court at a later time in the Western District of New York.

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