Medical College Researcher Pleads Not Guilty to Two Federal Offenses
Federal prosecutors initially indicted 42-year-old Dr. Hua Jun Zhao for economic espionage. Now, they have leveled other charges against him - computer fraud and lying to an FBI agent. On Thursday, Zhao entered a plea of not guilty on each count.
Zhao was a researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Authorities had accused him of stealing three vials of a possible cancer-fighting compound and academic research from the college, intending to pass off the items in China as his work.
Now, a federal grand jury has indicted Zhao for allegedly attempting to obstruct the federal investigation into the matter, by lying to a federal investigator and attempting to delete proprietary information from the college's computer servers.
If federal court convicts Zhao of both charges, he faces a maximum 15-years in prison term and $500,000 in fines.
According to court records, the U.S. Attorney has moved to dismiss the charge of violating the Economic Espionage Act, because of the new grand jury indictment.