UF Professor Indicted for Defrauding U.S. Government
A federal grand jury indicted a University of Florida professor and his wife Friday on fraud and other charges related to $3.7 million in contracts with NASA, the Air Force and Navy.
In the 71-count indictment, the grand jury charged Samim and Sousan Anghaie with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, fifty counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, seventeen counts of money laundering, and one count of making false statements to the Government. Sousan Anghaie is also charged in a separate count with making false statements, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
The indictment says that the couple purposely devised a “scheme to defraud and to obtain money and property” from the U.S. government by providing false information on bids for government contracts.
Samim Anghaie, 60, served as Director of the Innovation Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute at University of Florida, and his wife, 55, was the president of New Era Technology, Inc. The defendants submitted bid proposals to NASA, the Air Force and the Navy that stated that the company employed a research scientist, staff scientist, engineer, computer engineer or lab assistant who would be used to execute the proposed contract.
The research and analysis ultimately submitted to the three agencies was falsely represented to be performed by New Era Technology as part of the contract. But the research and analysis had actually been taken from research projects, papers, theses, and presentations by graduate and doctoral students at UF.
The Anghaies created fictitious employment records for audit purposes, and deposited government paychecks into their own bank accounts and those of their sons.
The University of Florida released a statement Friday saying that Samim Anghaie had been put on administrative leave and that it had cut his access to university resources in February when university officials learned of the nature of the federal investigation into Anghaie's dealings.
“The university has fully cooperated with federal authorities in their investigation of Dr. Anghaie’s activities and will continue to do so,” the statement said.
Both were arrested Friday morning and had their first appearance in the United States District Court in Gainesville.
If convicted, the couple could face a maximum of 20 years' imprisonment on each of the conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering charges, and a maximum of five years' imprisonment on the charges of making false statements.