NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Two University of Oklahoma employees who are married to each other are accused of defrauding the U.S. Department of Energy.
Shaorong Liu and Juan Lu, both of Norman, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to a news release issued by U.S. Attorney Timothy Downing’s office.
Liu and Lu, both of whom work for the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, control a company called MicroChem Solutions (MCS), according to the news release.
The couple applied for and received Department of Energy grant monies that was intended to support scientific excellence and technological innovation that will help build a strong national economy, the news release states.
However, Liu and Lu are accused of spending the grant money “on matters unrelated to the purpose of the grant funding, including on personal expenses,” the news release states.
Liu and Lu appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Suzanne Mitchell in Oklahoma City on Friday. They face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if found guilty.
The Department of Energy Office of Inspector General, the National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Oklahoma City Field Office investigated the alleged fraud.
The University of Oklahoma released the following statement:
“The recent matter involving OU employees is of serious concern to the University. OU has cooperated fully with federal authorities and will continue to do so.”