Texas A&M Professor charged with conspiracy and fraud over affiliation with Chinese University

A Texas A&M University professor has been charged with conspiracy, making false statements and wire fraud.

In a a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Zhengdong Cheng, 53, was arrested Sunday afternoon and is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday. 

The FBI said Cheng “took steps to obscure his affiliations and collaboration with a Chinese university and at least one Chinese-owned company.”

Cheng was working with a team conducting research for NASA, according to the press release, and the terms of the grant funding for the project prohibited coordination with China or any Chinese company or university.

Cheng allegedly provided false information to Texas A&M University and NASA and had increased access to NASA resources, including the International Space Station. The FBI complaint said that Cheng held senior research positions in China at Guangdong University of Technology and other universities that were unknown to Texas A&M and NASA.