The indictment alleges that in May 2018 Tao signed a five-year contract with Fuzhou University in China that designated him as a Changjiang Scholar Distinguished Professor. The contract required him to be a full time employee of the Chinese university. While Tao was under contract with Fuzhou University, he was conducting research at KU that was funded through two U.S. Department of Energy contracts and four National Science Foundation contracts.
Kansas Board of Regents’ policy requires staff to file an annual conflict of interest report. In Tao’s reports to KU, he falsely claimed to have no conflicts of interest. The indictment alleges that he fraudulently received more than $37,000 in salary paid for by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.