Chinese Spy Convicted for Not Disclosing Ties to CCP

Chinese Spy Convicted for Not Disclosing Ties to CCP

( – A former professor from the University of Kansas who defrauded the government also lied and worked for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to the Department of Justice. Feng “Franklin” Tao, 50, is guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of false statements for scamming his employer and abusing federal grants.

The Lie

Tao’s crimes began when he accepted a position with Fuzhou University in China, owned and operated by the Chinese state. The professor never informed his employer in Kansas about the position, telling the university he was in Europe. According to the indictment, he never sought his employer’s permission, failed to disclose the agreement, and then lied to cover it up.

The University of Kansas required Toa to let them know about any other employment to keep the school clear of any conflicts of interest. Tao’s failure to live up to his end of the bargain resulted in a conflict not only for the school but for him personally. The mistake is what would ultimately land him in handcuffs.

Officials believe Tao was recruited as part of a ploy by the CCP to bring talent that left China back home again; the hope was to revive the Chinese reputation and culture on the world stage. Even if Tao was part of that effort, his lack of transparency appears to speak volumes on where he stands regarding American laws. And why would the researcher withhold his connections if he didn’t have something to hide?

The Consequences

Tao is a catalyst researcher in a field often funded by specialist groups and government grants. The school pays a portion of his salary with grant money from the US government. When he went to work for communist China under false pretenses, he defrauded the school in Kansas. A DOJ release states that Toa received $37,000 of his salary from funds provided by the US government. By not telling his employer the truth, collecting a salary from them became a crime.

Once federal jurisdiction was established, Tao was looking at wire fraud charges, as sending and receiving money across any state line or international border for illegal purposes falls under the purview of the FBI. The charge of false statements stems from his lying to an agent during an official investigation, another federal offense.

Tao faces 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. His career is also presumably over, even if he gets out of jail with enough time left to consider a return to his field.

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