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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Hampshire

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 23, 2018

Two University of New Hampshire Employees Charged with Theft of Government Funds

 

            CONCORD – United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today that two employees of the University of New Hampshire (UNH) have been charged with stealing money from federal research grants.

            One Indictment alleges that Hailong Zhang, 44, of Nottingham, was a Research Project Manager for the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture.  The Indictment alleges that he was authorized to use a credit card provided by UNH for expenses covered by federal research grants that were awarded to UNH, as a prime-grantee or sub-grantee, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health (“NIH”).  The Indictment alleges that on 31 separate occasions from approximately December 2013 to January 2018, Zhang used his business credit card to purchase gift cards from Amazon.com that totaled more than $82,000, which Zhang used to purchase items for his personal use.  The Indictment also alleges that Zhang concealed his unauthorized use of the credit card by submitting a fictitious receipt and a fraudulent written justification for each expense to the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture’s Business Service Center, which caused the University System of New Hampshire to make payments for the unauthorized purchases to Zhang’s credit card account and UNH to obtain reimbursements for the expenses from the NIH grants.

            The other Indictment alleges that Jichun Zhang, 45, of Durham, was a Research Assistant Professor for the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space.  The Indictment alleges that he was authorized to use a credit card provided by UNH for expenses covered by federal research grants that were awarded to UNH, as the prime-grantee, by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (“NASA”).  The Indictment alleges that on 31 different occasions from approximately January 2016 to December 2017, Zhang used his business credit card to purchase personal items totaling more than $6,900 from Amazon.com, PayPal, and Apple, Inc.  This Indictment further alleges that Zhang concealed the unauthorized use of the credit card by submitting a fictitious receipt and a fraudulent written justification for each expense to the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space’s Business Service Center, which caused the University System of New Hampshire to make payments for the unauthorized purchases to Zhang’s credit card account and UNH to seek and obtain reimbursements for each expense from the NASA grants.

            Both defendants were arrested on Friday and are scheduled to make their initial appearances in federal court on Friday afternoon.

            The cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the University of New Hampshire Police Department, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Police Departments in Durham, Nottingham, and Newmarket, New Hampshire.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Kinsella.

            The charges and allegations contained in an indictment are merely accusations.  A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

 

 

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Topic(s): 
Grants
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
18-056
Updated March 23, 2018