Former UCLA Physics Professor Agrees to Plead Guilty in Federal Contract Fraud Case and Pay Nearly $1.7 Million in Damages
LOS ANGELES – A former physics professor of the University of California, Los
Angeles has agreed to plead guilty to federal fraud charges and pay nearly $1.7 million
in penalties for submitting fraudulent invoices related to nanotechnology research he
was performing for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and
other federal government entities.
Dr. Alfred Wong, 75, who resides in the Westwood district of Los Angeles, was charged this morning with making a false claim to the United States. Wong was charged in a criminal information filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
Federal prosecutors also filed a plea agreement in the criminal case and an agreement to settle a potential civil lawsuit. In those documents, Wong agreed to plead guilty to the federal fraud offense and pay a total of $1,686,000 in fines, restitution and damages to the United States and UCLA.
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. 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.
The charge of submitting a false claim to the government a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
Wong will be summoned to appear in federal court to be arraigned in this case on June 6.
The case against Wong is the result of an investigation by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien
Public Corruption and Civil Rights Sections Section
Read the complete news release.