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University department head accused of wire fraud

In a case that has shocked many, a well-respected Pennsylvania professor and department head has been accused of serious federal crimes in relation to his position at Temple University. The man, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was the chairman of the school's physics department prior to his arrest. He is accused of sharing confidential trade secrets regarding American technology with China, the nation of his birth, which has led to him being charged with wire fraud.

He now faces federal charges of wire fraud, and his colleagues are expressing shock at the allegations that he would compromise a thriving academic career to provide information to a foreign entity. The department head is known as a leader in the field of superconductor research. Some of the information he allegedly shared relates to the elimination of resistance in conducting electricity. That technology can be used in a wide range of applications, many of which focus on cellphone and computer hardware.

Investigators claim that the department head used the research and development that he conducted for Temple to try to secure lucrative positions with Chinese companies. He is believed to have used several Chinese postdoctoral students to communicate with entities in that nation. One of those entities is the government of China.

The lauded Pennsylvania professor now stands accused of sharing closely held trade secrets with a foreign nation, which is a very serious offense. It is unclear whether he will be allowed to teach in the coming year, but, for now, he remains on the school's faculty list. As the wire fraud case moves forward, additional details may become available concerning how technological trade secrets are communicated between entities, both domestic and foreign.

Source: philly.com, "Temple demotes physics dept. head charged with federal crimes", Jeremy Roebuck, Susan Snyder, and Mark Fazlollah, May 22, 2015

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