NASA Researcher Arrested for False Statements and Wire Fraud in Relation to China’s Talents Program

Texas A&M University Professor Working on U.S. Space Projects Allegedly Hid Affiliations with Chinese State Owned Academic and Commercial Institutions

WASHINGTON (DOJ PR) — A criminal complaint has been unsealed today, charging Zhengdong Cheng, 53, of College Station, Texas, for conspiracy, making false statements and wire fraud. 

Texas A&M University (TAMU) Professor Zhengdong Cheng is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam Sheldon today at 10 a.m. in Houston, Texas.  Authorities took him into custody Sunday, Aug. 23. 

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WSJ: Former Top NASA Official Under Criminal Investigation in Lunar Lander Procurement Case

Douglas Loverro (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into whether a former senior NASA official broke federal procurement law by updating a Boeing official on the status of the company’s bid to develop a human lunar lander.

The grand jury investigation involves communication between NASA’s former head of human spaceflight, Doug Loverro, and Boeing Senior Vice President Jim Chilton.

Loverro, who abruptly resigned from NASA in May, is alleged to have improperly told Chilton that Boeing was about to be eliminated from a competition for human landing system development contracts because the company’s bid was deficient

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FCC Unanimously Approves Ligado’s Application to Facilitate 5G and Internet of Things Services

Conditions Will Protect Incumbents from Harmful Interference

WASHINGTON (FCC PR) — The Federal Communications Commission announced that it has approved with conditions Ligado’s application to deploy a low-power terrestrial nationwide network in the L-Band that will primarily support 5G and Internet of Things services.

The order approving Ligado’s application was adopted without dissent and will promote more efficient and effective use of our nation’s spectrum resources and ensure that adjacent band operations, including the Global Positioning System (GPS), are protected from harmful interference.

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Former CASIS Chief Economist Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud

TAMPA, Fla. (Department of Justice PR) – Charles R. Resnick (69, Charlotte, NC, formerly from Florida) has pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false income tax return. He faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison. Resnick also agreed to make restitution to the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (“CASIS”). A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, on October 15, 2013, Resnick filed a 2012 Individual Income Tax Return (IRS Form 1040), which he signed under penalty of perjury. On the return, Resnick attested that his total income for tax year 2012 was $225,947, when he knew that his income was substantially greater.

Resnick understated his total income by approximately $209,916 and failed to report approximately $158,000 in gross receipts that he had earned from consulting clients.

In addition, he improperly deducted business expenses in the approximate amount of $51,500, despite the facts that (1) he had been reimbursed for the expenses and (2) some of the deducted expenses were not ordinary and necessary business expenses.

For sentencing purposes, Resnick is responsible for the total tax loss for tax years 2010 through and including 2013. That amount will be determined at sentencing.

This case was investigated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachelle DesVaux Bedke.

Man Pleads Guilty to Falsifying Inspection Reports for SpaceX Parts

BUFFALO, N.Y. (US DOJ PR) –U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that James Smalley, 42, of Penn Yan, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to falsifying inspection reports for space parts. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant was a Quality Assurance Engineer at PMI Industries, LLC, a Rochester aerospace precision machining service, specializing in high-tolerance machining for flight critical aerospace parts used to build space flight vehicles by SpaceX and other Department of Defense aerospace contractors.

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Man Charged With Falsifying Inspection Reports for Space Parts Supplied to SpaceX, DOD

Crowd gathers to watch as NASA and SpaceX make history by launching the first commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft and rocket to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off at 2:49 a.m. EST Saturday on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credits: NASA)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (Justice Department PR) — U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that James Smalley, 41, of Penn Yan, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with falsifying inspection reports for space parts. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the defendant was a Quality Assurance Engineer at PMI Industries, LLC, a Rochester aerospace precision machining service, specializing in high-tolerance machining for flight critical aerospace parts used to build space flight vehicles by SpaceX and other Department of Defense aerospace contractors.

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Company Blamed for Failed $704 Million NASA Missions Pays $46 Million in Fines

Glory satellite (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

An Oregon manufacturer whose defective products NASA alleges caused the launch failures of two climate missions worth $704 million has agreed to pay more than $46 million to the space agency, the Department of Defense (DOD) and others it defrauded.

The Justice Department announced a plea bargain agreement of fraud charges against Hydro Extrusion Portland, Inc., formerly known as Sapa Profiles Inc. (SPI), and its corporate parent, Hydro Extrusion USA, LLC, formerly known as Sapa Extrusions Inc. (SEI).

The companies admitted to altering the results of tensile tests “designed to ensure the consistency and reliability of aluminum products it provided to U.S. government contractors and other customers,” the Justice Department said in a press release.

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