February 12, 2021

Former UF Researcher Indicted for NIH Fraud ‘Scheme’

Lin Yang, a former University of Florida (UF) researcher, has been indicted on six counts of wire fraud and four counts of making false statements, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Feb. 3. A grand jury returned the indictment on Dec. 15 related to an award of $1.75 million for which Yang was the principal investigator from 2014 to 2019. Yang would not have been eligible had he disclosed “support he received from the Chinese government and a company that he founded in China to profit from that research,” the DOJ said. Yang’s grant was to “develop and disseminate an imaging informatics tool for muscles known as ‘MuscleMiner,’” the government said.

“During that same period, in 2016, Yang established a business in China known as ‘Deep Informatics.’ The indictment further alleges that Yang promoted his business in China by relating that its products were the result of years of research supported by millions of dollars of U.S. government funding,” DOJ said. “Simultaneously, Yang applied for and was accepted into the People’s Republic of China’s Thousand Talents Program (TTP) in connection with Northwestern Polytechnical University, located in Xi’an, China. The TTP was a talent plan established by the Chinese government to encourage the transfer of original ideas, technology, and intellectual property from foreign institutions, such as American universities.” Yang has been in China since traveling there in August 2019, DOJ said. If convicted, Yang faces a sentence with maximum prison terms ranging from five to 20 years and fines of up to $250,000 per charge.

Link to DOJ Announcement