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UT researcher arrested, charged with wire fraud, making false statements about relationship with Chinese university

Anming Hu was booked into the Blount County jail after federal authorities allege he illegally worked with a Chinese university while also doing UT projects.
Credit: Blount County Sheriff's Office

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A University of Tennessee researcher was arrested after he tried to hide his relationship with a Chinese university, federal authorities allege.

Anming Hu, 51, was charged Thursday with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements, authorities allege. His arrest follows a grand jury indictment. 

Authorities alleged that Hu lied about his ties to the Beijing University of Technology while working with UT. This caused UT to incorrectly claim that it had complied with federal law during its work with NASA.

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Federal laws do not allow NASA to use federal funds on projects in collaboration with Chinese universities. Hu's work with BJUT while also working with UT violated that, authorities allege.

“Hu allegedly committed fraud by hiding his relationship with a Chinese university while receiving funding from NASA,” John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, said in a press release.

Hu made his first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Poplin in Knoxville on Thursday. He was later booked into Blount County jail. Now, he faces an arraignment and detention hearing Tuesday, March 3, according to federal court records.

Hu was an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering at UT. Federal authorities said that UT has cooperated in the investigation.

He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count of wire fraud if convicted. Hu may also spend up to five years in prison for each false statement.

The case is part of the Department of Justice's China Initiative, which focuses on countering national security threats. 

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