MIT Professor arrested and charged with grant fraud

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A U.S. Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP)– The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has arrested and charged a professor and researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in connection with failing to disclose contracts, appointments and awards from various entities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Gang Chen, 56, was arrested at his home in Cambridge and charged with wire fraud, failing to file a foreign bank account report (FBAR) and making a false statement in a tax return.

According to charging documents, Chen is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in China. He is a professor and researcher at MIT where he serves as Director of the MIT Pappalardo Micro/Nano Engineering Laboratory and Director of the Solid-State Solar Thermal Energy Conversion Center (S3TEC). Since approximately 2013, Chen’s research at MIT has been funded by more than $19 million in grants awarded by various U.S. federal agencies.

Records also show that since 2013, Chen allegedly received approximately $29 million of foreign funding, including $19 million from the PRC’s Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech).

From at least 2017 to 2019 when Chen was serving in several advisory roles for the PRC and PRC entities, Chen applied for and obtained a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant in order to fund a portion of his research at MIT.  In doing so, it is alleged that Chen failed to disclose information about his ongoing affiliations with the PRC as required by DOE.

Chen also allegedly failed to disclose to the IRS in his 2018 tax return that he maintained a bank account in the PRC with more than $10,000 in 2018.

You can read the entire criminal complaint here:

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