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Press Release

Employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Charged with Making False Statements to Obtain Security Clearance

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

DETROIT - An employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was charged with making false statements concerning his contacts with the Taiwanese Navy and falsifying records in a federal investigation related to his application for a security clearance in a federal criminal complaint that was unsealed today, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge James A. Tarasca, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.

Charged was Yifei Chu, also known as Philip Chu, 57, of Ypsilanti, Michigan.

According to the criminal complaint, Chu, a naturalized U.S. citizen and current employee of NOAA, had recently applied for a three-year detailed assignment to the United States Embassy in Singapore working for the United States Navy in the Office of Naval Research Global. To obtain this position, Chu was required to apply for and obtain a “Secret” security clearance. Chu made several false statements in his security clearance application, during an interview with federal background investigators, and in an affidavit he signed regarding his security clearance application. Chu’s false statements included his failure to disclose extensive contacts with members of the Taiwanese Navy and a Taiwanese company, including the fact that Chu was hired by the Tiwanese company to provide consulting services on a “classified” Taiwanese Navy project, and that he met on multiple occasions with members of the Taiwanese Navy on a military base in Taiwan in performance of his consulting services. The consulting services Chu provided the Taiwanese Navy related to work he did during a period of employment with United States Navy, which predated his work at NOAA. Chu also sought to conceal the fact that he is still a citizen of Taiwan.

The offense of making a false statement carries a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, and the offense of falsification of records in a federal investigation carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. 

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ronald Waterstreet and Michael Martin.

A criminal complaint is only a charging document and is not evidence of guilt.

Updated October 25, 2022

National Security