Ex-University of Arkansas professor sentenced to year in prison for lying about Chinese patents

FAYETTEVILLE — A former professor at the University of Arkansas was sentenced Thursday to one year and a day in prison after pleading guilty to one count of lying to the FBI about patents filed in China listing him as a co-inventor.

Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 65, of Fayetteville, was ordered to self-report to a designated prison by July 20. He will remain free until then.

The sentencing followed a January plea agreement in which prosecutors agreed to dismiss 55 counts of wire fraud. Prosecutors alleged that Ang failed to disclose to government funding agencies — and to UA — his ties to China and Chinese companies. Most of the wire fraud allegations had to do with Ang’s pursuit of NASA and U.S. Air Force research grants.

Also dismissed as part of the plea deal were two counts of making a false statement in application and use of a passport, as well as another count of making a false statement. In total, 58 out of 59 counts against Ang were dismissed.

At Ang’s request, U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks, who presided over the sentencing hearing, said he would recommend that Ang be sent to the low-security federal prison in Texarkana, Texas.

After serving the prison sentence, Ang will be on supervised release for one year. He was also fined $5,500.

Brooks had the authority to impose a different sentence but opted to follow the proposed sentence for Ang included in the plea agreement. The deal with prosecutors specified that Ang could withdraw his guilty plea if Brooks didn’t accept the agreement.

On Thursday, Brooks noted that, although Ang was not violent and had no criminal history, the charge to which he pleaded guilty was serious.

“I sincerely apologize to this court for my conduct and I take full responsibility,” Ang said when allowed to speak in court. “I appreciate and thank the supports of my family, my attorneys and friends during this difficult time.”

According to court documents, 24 patents in China were filed under Ang’s name or Chinese birth name.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where Ang worked as a professor, required employees 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, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas.

Despite this requirement, Ang didn’t disclose his Chinese patents to the university and, when interviewed by an FBI agent, lied about his involvement in the inventions, according to the news release. 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.

Read the full story at: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2022/jun/17/ex-ua-professor-sentenced-to-year-in-prison-for/