University of Arkansas Professor Pleads Guilty to Lying to Federal Agents About Patents in China

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FILE PHOTO: The crest of the United States Department of Justice is seen at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

An Arkansas man and University of Arkansas Professor pleaded guilty today to one count of making a false statement to the FBI about the existence of patents for his inventions in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 64, of Fayetteville, entered a guilty plea to count 58 on a superseding indictment charging him with making a materially false and fictitious, statement and representation to an FBI Special Agent. According to court documents, 24 patents filed in the People’s Republic of China bear Ang’s name or Chinese birth name. The University of Arkansas, where Ang worked as a professor, required individuals such as Ang to promptly furnish to the University “full and complete” disclosures of inventions, and University policy provided that it, not individual inventors, would own all inventions created by those subject to the policy. This policy was established “in furtherance of the commitment of the University to the widest possible distribution of the benefits of University Research, the protection of Inventions resulting from such research, and the development of Inventions for the public good.”

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Despite this requirement, Ang did not disclose his Chinese patents to the university and, when interviewed by an FBI agent, lied about his involvement in the inventions. Specifically, when asked whether his name would be listed as “the inventor” of numerous patents in China, Ang denied being the inventor, despite knowing he was. In addition, Ang also received numerous talent awards from the PRC government, which he did not list on the university’s annual conflict of interest disclosure forms.

Ang’s sentencing is expected to take place in approximately four months. Ang faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for the crime for which he pleaded guilty, however, the plea agreement also states that if the court wishes to sentence Ang to a sentence that is not a year and a day in federal prison, Ang will have the right to withdraw from the plea agreement. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division and U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The FBI, the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), NASA Office of Inspector General and Air Force Office of Special Investigations investigated the case.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas and Trial Attorney Christine Bonomo from the Department of Justice National Security Division are prosecuting the case.