An Indian American engineering professor, Manoj Kumar Jha, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for trying to defraud the National Science Foundation (NSF) of $700,000.
A full time professor at the Morgan State University, Jha, according to the seven count indictment, fraudulently obtained $200,000 in grant funds from the NSF's Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program to fund a highway project, and attempted to obtain another $500,000 though the same program.
The indictment alleges that Jha converted the funds to his personal use, including: to make payments on his mortgage and personal credit card authorising approximately $11,000 in salary payments to his wife, who did not perform NSF- related work and writing a $6,000 check to himself.
According to the indictment announced by the US Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod Rosenstein and Allison Lerner, NSF Inspector General Jha established a company Amar Transportation Research and Consulting (ATRC), and was its president and only director.
The indictment alleges that Jha submitted funding proposals on behalf of ATRC to the STTR.
Jha faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of five counts of wire fraud, and for one count each of mail fraud and falsification of records.
No court appearance has been scheduled.