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Analysis

Ex-Cleveland Clinic Researcher Arrested, Charged with Wire Fraud

By John Commins  
   May 18, 2020

Dr. Qing Wang allegedly failed to disclose to NIH that he was also receiving grant money from the Chinese government. 

A former researcher at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation has been arrested and charged with wire fraud and false claims for allegedly failing to disclose funding he received from the Chinese government while simultaneously accepting more than $3.6 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Justice said.

According to a criminal complaint filed by DOJ, Dr. Qing Wang "knowingly failed to disclose to NIH that he had an affiliation with and held the position of Dean of the College of Life Sciences and Technology at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology and received grant funds from the National Natural Science Foundation of China for some of the same scientific research funded by the NIH grant."

DOJ did not say what Wang was researching.

Federal prosecutors also allege that Wang participated in the Thousand Talents Program, which was established by the Chinese government to recruit people with access to foreign technology and intellectual property.

Through TTP, China gave Wang $3 million to enhance facilities and operations at HUST. Wang also allegedly received free travel and lodging for his trips to China, which included a three-bedroom apartment on campus for his personal use. 

These perks came as Wang was also getting NIH funds, which he failed to disclose, DOJ said.

Cleveland Clinic Responds

Cleveland Clinic issued this statement regarding Wang's arrest:

"The National Institutes of Health raised concerns to Cleveland Clinic whether Dr. Qing Wang appropriately disclosed foreign research ties to China. Cleveland Clinic conducted an internal review into these matters. Based on the results of that review, Dr. Wang's employment at the Cleveland Clinic was terminated."

"Cleveland Clinic has cooperated fully with the NIH and with federal law enforcement as they conducted their own investigations into these same subjects and will continue to do so. Cleveland Clinic takes seriously its obligations to be a good steward of the federal research funds entrusted to us."

"Cleveland Clinic appreciates the commitment by the NIH and federal law enforcement to the integrity and security of research being conducted by the academic community across the country."

“Cleveland Clinic conducted an internal review into these matters. Based on the results of that review, Dr. Wang's employment at the Cleveland Clinic was terminated.”

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock.com


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Federal prosecutors allege that Wang participated in the Thousand Talents Program, which the Chinese government uses to recruit people with access to foreign technology and intellectual property.

Through TTP, China gave Wang $3 million and provided free travel and lodging for his trips to China, which included a three-bedroom apartment on campus for his personal use, none of which he disclosed to NIH.


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