University of Oklahoma staffers accused of wire fraud in grant program
Shaorong Liu ("Liu") and Juan Lu ("Lu"), both of Norman, have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing.
According to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint, Liu and Lu are employed at the University of Oklahoma Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Liu and Lu also controlled a company, MicroChem Solutions (MCS). Through MCS, they applied for and received federal grant monies from the Department of Energy. The mission of the grant program was to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.
The affidavit alleges Liu and Lu spent this grant money on matters unrelated to the purpose of the grant funding, including on personal expenses.
Today, Liu and Lu made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Suzanne Mitchell in Oklahoma City. If found guilty, Liu and Lu face a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison.
This case is a result of an investigation by the Department of Energy Office of Inspector General, the National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Oklahoma City Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Will Farrior and Matt Dillon are prosecuting the case.
The public is reminded that these charges are merely an allegation and that both defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.