Virginia Tech professor accused of fraud
The professor was arrested last week for the alleged fraudulent use of grants
Yiheng Percival Zhang, a biological systems engineering professor, has been arrested for the alleged misuse of grants.
Zhang is being charged with making criminal false claims, false statements, and wire frauds. According to reports, he was not alone. Zhang allegedly had assistance from with Tech graduate Zhiguang Zhu and postdoctoral researcher Chun You.
Much of the grants he received were said to be used for research that he had already done in China.
Another reason Zhang is in hot water is that he is accused of not giving the university its required 30 percent as the grant required. Virginia Tech representatives claimed to have only received approximately 18 percent.
Two additional awarded grants have potential violations, totaling to $112,500 that was supposed to given to the University. These are not included in last week's initial filing.
Zhang has denied any allegations and has stated that he has not done anything incorrectly. His lawyer has stated that he looks forward to the public disclosure of this case so that he is able to keep his hard earned reputation.
Zhang is also being sued by a former employee of his company, CFB or Cell-Free Bioinnovations Inc. According to the former employee, secret trade-related information was used by Chun You, Zhang’s former student, to benefit a Chinese government-owned company’s work. This civil case is set to go to trial in 2018.
Zhang has been teaching at Virginia Tech since 2005 in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and has received several awards during his tenure. In 2014, he received national attention for his developing of a method that turns wood chips into edible starches, which resulted in Zhang being featured in national news outlets.