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Former WVU professor accused of stealing grant funds, fleeing to China

A former West Virginia College professor who was federally indicted in 2020 on two counts of federal program fraud after investigators say he embezzled 1000’s of {dollars} in federal grant cash, then fled the nation for over three years, is now in custody.

In line with a press launch from United States District Lawyer William Ihlenfeld’s workplace, Xinjian “Kevin” He, 41, was a professor in WVU’s engineering division the place he allegedly stole federal grant funding for private use. He’s stated to have used the cash to buy private objects akin to clothes, furnishings, house items, and electronics.

The indictment states that between March 20, 2018, and Nov. 12, 2018, He fraudulently obtained and used roughly $8,360.36 in federal grant cash that was legally owned by and beneath the care, custody and management of WVU.

Starting on Nov. 24, 2018, till Nov. 19, 2019, He’s accused of as soon as once more stealing WVU grant cash obtained by way of a federal program. In line with the indictment, He embezzled roughly $16,997.46 throughout this time.

He’s indictment was truly returned by a federal grand jury in November 2020, however remained sealed as a result of the previous professor allegedly fled the nation to China following a warranted search of his residence on Dec. 19, 2019, and his termination from WVU on Dec. 31, 2019.

In line with court docket paperwork, U.S. Marshals issued a “crimson discover” for He’s seize. The “crimson discover” was entered right into a database by which legislation enforcement across the globe are knowledgeable of needed fugitives. One of many cooperating international locations in that system is Canada.

He was lastly apprehended in New York by border patrol brokers a couple of weeks in the past on Sept. 26 after he was discovered attempting to enter the USA from Canada after flying into Montreal.

Courtroom paperwork say crimson flags had been raised to frame patrol as a result of the location of He’s tried border crossing was not the most-direct path to the USA from Montreal. Nonetheless, it’s famous that He was not making an attempt to cross illegally and got here by way of a reliable border crossing.

At an Oct. 20 listening to in Clarksburg federal court docket, U.S. Justice of the Peace Choose Michael John Aloi granted a movement by the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace to detain He pending trial because of him being a flight danger.

Aloi said within the detention order that he didn’t consider He to be a hazard to the group however did discover him to be a flight danger.

“Defendant’s re-entry into the USA raises considerations,” Aloi wrote within the order. “The way of entry by way of Canada, utilizing a rural, circuitous route suggests an effort to evade detection.

“Furthermore, the undersigned notes that there isn’t any extradition treaty with China — so if Defendant efficiently flees to China, assuring his look can be troublesome,” he wrote.

He’ll stay within the custody of the USA Marshal Service because the case proceeds.

An indictment is a proper cost introduced towards a defendant and doesn’t suggest guilt or conviction. A defendant is harmless till and except confirmed responsible.

If convicted, He faces as much as 10 years in jail for every depend of fraud.

The U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies Workplace of Inspector Normal and WVU Police Division investigated. Assistant U.S. Lawyer Sarah Wagner is prosecuting on behalf of the federal government.

He’s represented by John D. Pizzo of Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC — Bridgeport.

Jury choice and trial for He’s case is scheduled for Dec. 12 on the Clarksburg federal courthouse.

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