A CLOSER LOOK: UARK Professor Ang arrested; the China-NASA connection

A Closer Look

Sen. Cotton: We must protect our great universities and our national security from Chinese espionage

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A University of Arkansas professor’s career came to a halt after getting arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for wire fraud.

Court papers were unsealed Monday, May 11, regarding Simon Saw-Teong Ang’s Friday, May 8 arrest, after his initial court appearance. Professor Ang, 63, a Fayetteville resident, was charged with one count of wire fraud.

The complaint charges that “Ang had close ties with the Chinese government and Chinese companies, and failed to disclose those ties when required to do so in order to receive grant money from NASA.  These materially false representations to NASA and the University of Arkansas resulted in numerous wires to be sent and received that facilitated Ang’s scheme to defraud.”

According to NASA Shared Services Center, the University of Arkansas made at least four grant applications and three were by Ang — February 2017, March 2018, May 2019 with a research end date of May 4, 2019, and two on May 31, 2020, respectively. All three grants were awarded, however, the amount was not disclosed on the website.

The applications state the research is for 500° C Capable weather resistant electronics packaging for extreme environment exploration.

Ang is represented by Fayetteville attorney Drew Ledbetter. If convicted, Ang faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

The FBI is investigating the case.  Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas and Trial Attorneys Michael Eaton and Ali Ahmad from the National Security Division are prosecuting the case, according to a Department of Justice statement.

ARKANSAS LAWMAKERS REACT TO ANG’S ARREST

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Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3)

“The charge against Simon Ang is serious, and I support both the DOJ’s and FBI’s efforts in this matter. This situation further demonstrates a known reality: China is actively working to target every aspect of American enterprise. From our supply chain to academia, they are employing all tools to try and subvert our institutions and steal proprietary information. The Chinese Communist Party – and anyone supporting their hostile and illegal efforts – must be held accountable.”

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U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR)

“China’s communist regime cheats, steals and manipulates. Its practices threaten our national security as well as the security and intellectual property of American businesses. The FBI and Department of Justice have been vigilant in identifying bad actors intent on stealing trade secrets, and I support their ongoing efforts to protect American institutions and interests from China’s predatory activities. The arrest of Simon Ang is the latest action to prevent this abuse from continuing.”

 U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)

“For years, the Chinese Communist Party has bribed some of our top researchers and stolen from our best labs and universities. Yet China’s campaign of economic espionage is largely permissible under our laws, so spies like Simon Ang at University of Arkansas and Charles Lieber at Harvard typically face process crimes like wire fraud or misrepresentations on federal forms. This has to change. I will introduce legislation to prohibit federally funded researchers from accepting Chinese money. We must protect our great universities and our national security from Chinese espionage.”

Professor Simon S. Ang, University of Arkansas Electrical Engineering

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FACULTY BIO, SIMON ANG

Simon Ang graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering. He subsequently completed the M.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Ph.D. Degree in Electrical Engineering at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Ang worked for seven years at Texas Instruments holding a variety of increasingly responsible positions including a section manager in the Advanced Power Integrated Circuit Development Center prior to joining the faculty of the University of Arkansas in 1988 as an Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering.   He became an Associate Professor in 1991 and a full Professor in 1995. Dr. Ang is the Director of the High Density Electronics Center and an Associate Director of the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission.  He has received numerous teaching awards and supervised over 100 M.S. and Ph.D. students in electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, agricultural engineering, and mechanical engineering. Dr. Ang received the Arkansas Alumni Association Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching in 1994 and received the Insignia Award in Technology by the City and Guilds of London Institute, England in 1988 for his work on power semiconductor device development. He is the author and co-author of more than 300 journal and proceeding articles and 6 book chapters. He holds four U.S. patents. He is the author of the book “Power Switching Converters” (New York: Marcel Dekker, 1995) and the principal author of “Power-Switching Converters-Third Edition” (New York: Taylor and Francis, 2010).  Dr. Ang is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (United Kingdom), the Electrochemical Society, the City and Guilds of London Institute (United Kingdom), and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

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