A Purdue University professor and his wife have been indicted on federal fraud charges. U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch’s office says Qingyou Han and Lu Shao are accused of hatching a scheme to defraud the National Science Foundation.
Han is a professor of mechanical engineering technology at Purdue and director of the Purdue Center for Materials Processing Research. He and Shao founded a company called Hans Tech and applied for and received more than $1.3 million in grants from the NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology programs.
Kirsch says the couple allegedly used the funds in part to pay personal expenses for themselves and their children. The indictment alleges Shao purchased a home in her name, signed a lease with herself on behalf of Hans Tech, and paid rent to herself from the company of $3,000 per month using grant funds.
The indictment also states that in 2009, the couple falsely reported to the NSF that the "secretary" and "technical assistant" for their research project each earned $24,000 in hourly wages and "consulting" fees. Those funds were actually given to the couple’s minor children, who were approximately 10 and 15-years-old at the time.
Kirsch’s office says, if convicted, the judge will impose a sentence to be determined at that time after considering federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.