Carolina: Manoj Kumar Jha, an Indian−American professor at Morgan State University has been indicted for plotting to fraudulently obtain research grants from the National Science Foundation. The 45 year old Jha, oversees the university’s transportation engineering graduate programme, received $200,000 in grant funds for a highway project. He is said to have allegedly fabricated the research proposal on behalf of a private company he founded and then applied for funding through the NSF’s Small Business Technology Transfer programme. He also claimed that another Morgan State professor was serving as a scientific adviser on the project and he had deceived $100,000 in matching funds from a third party, a requirement to qualify for the grant.
Jha is accused of falsely claiming on the application that the company he headed would work on the project and had eight employees. Jha stated that he will take time off from his work for the the project. The indictment says that his calims were false and that the money was used to pay personal expenses. It included personal mortgage and credit card payments, paid his wife $11,000 for work she didn’t do and wrote himself a $6,000 check. The alleged fraud occurred between January 2008 and July 2009.
Jha migrated to US in 1991 with an Engineering degree. As per the prosecution, Jha can serve a maximum 20 years in prison for each of five wire fraud counts, a mail fraud count and a falsification of records.