Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Tuesday, September 26, 2023 | Back issues
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UCLA Professor Bilked Uncle Sam

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A retired UCLA physics professor will plead guilty and pay $1.7 million in restitution for bilking the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which invented the Internet, federal prosecutors said.

Dr. Alfred Wong, 75, agreed Thursday to plead guilty to making a false claim, and to pay $1,686,000 to the United States and UCLA, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Wong admitted he submitted fraudulent invoices for nanotechnology research he was doing for DARPA, prosecutors said in a statement.

"A longtime professor of physics at UCLA, Wong served as the director of the

Plasma Physics Laboratory at UCLA, as well as the director of the High Power Auroral

Stimulation (HIPAS) Observatory near Fairbanks, Alaska," the U.S. attorney said in the statement. "About 10 years ago, Wong and two companies he founded - Non-Linear Ion Dynamics, Inc. (NID) and the International Foundation for Science, Health, and the Environment (IFSHE), both of which were based in Van Nuys - entered into a series of contracts worth more than $25 million with the United States to research the feasibility of nanotechnology batteries for defense applications and to conduct ionospheric research at HIPAS. Wong also founded and controlled Alfred Wong Technologies (AWT), a Beverly Hills-based concern he established to manage various patent rights.

"According to court documents filed today, Wong created fictitious invoices at AWT that claimed AWT had manufactured and sold to NID certain nanotechnology components. Fraudulent invoices totaling $160,000 were then submitted to the Defense Department for payment.

"Wong also caused IFSHE and NID to submit false vouchers to the Department of Interior for improvements on his privately owned land, as well as equipment and labor costs unrelated to the government Department contract."

Wong also could be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison at his June 6 sentencing, prosecutors said.

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