Forget self-deportation: It appears the feds have stumbled across a case of secret self-outsourcing at New York University. On Monday, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and the FBI announced charges against three NYU researchers who had been funded by the National Institutes of Health to work on super-specialized MRI technology–then gave away that research to an institute supported by the Chinese government and another competitor, according to the complaint.
“As alleged, this is a case of inviting and paying for foxes in the henhouse,” Bharara said in a statement. While the researchers were toiling away with the multimillion-dollar grant, the charges allege that the defendants communicated with United Imaging, a Chinese medical imaging company, and the Shenzen Institute of Advanced Technology, a project established by the Chinese Academy of Science, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Shenzhen municipal government.
A university investigation into researchers’ NYU e-mail accounts found that the researchers had been sending NIH-funded project updates to United Imaging, while the feds discovered that an executive there paid one of the researcher’s grad school tuition fees and another’s rent. Guess SeekingArrangement.com just wasn’t good enough this time around.