Oklahoma couple pleads guilty to charge involving Department of Energy grants

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma couple has pleaded guilty to making a false statement regarding Department of Energy grants.

On Feb. 18, 2021, a federal grand jury returned a 16-count superseding indictment against 57-year-old Juan Lu and 58-year-old Shaorong Liu.

According to the indictment, Liu was employed as a professor at OU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Together, the couple also controlled a company called MicroChem Solutions.

Through the company, they applied for and received federal grant monies from the Small Business Technology Transfer Program of the Department of Energy. The grant was supposed to support scientific excellence and technological innovation to build a strong national economy.

However, investigators say Liu and Lu spent the money on personal expenses. Also, they allegedly submitted altered documents to the Department of Energy regarding how they spent the grant money.

On Tuesday, Lu pleaded guilty to using documents containing materially false statements regarding a matter pertaining to the executive branch of the United States government.

In April, Liu pleaded guilty to making a materially false statement regarding a matter pertaining to the executive branch of the United States government.

At sentencing, both face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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