Purdue Professor, Wife, Plead Guilty to Fraud Involving NSF Awards
Following guilty pleas for wire fraud, sentencing is scheduled for January in the case of a Purdue University professor and his wife indicted for falsely obtaining and misspending $1.3 million in National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer awards. The trial of Qingyou Han and Lu Shao on the charges had been scheduled to begin Oct. 21. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District announced the guilty pleas Oct. 18.
Han, a professor of mechanical engineering technology and director of Purdue University’s Center for Materials Processing Research, is accused of creating a company, Hans Tech, in his wife’s name and obtaining awards that were used to pay for the couple’s home under the guise that rent was being paid to a research lab, among other misdeeds. “In some of the Hans Tech proposals to NSF, the company recommended that Dr. Han, in his capacity as a Purdue professor, be hired as a subcontractor to assist in carrying out the research. Other documents justified the use of research funds to pay employees who, unbeknownst to the NSF, were actually Dr. Han and Ms. Shao’s minor children who were between the ages of 9 and 16 at the time they allegedly worked for Hans Tech,” the announcement said. Han’s page is still up on the Purdue website, but it was reported that he had been placed on leave following his indictment in July 2018.