Charles M. Lieber, the chair of the chemistry and chemical biology department at Harvard University, was arrested on Jan. 28 and charged with fraud. The complaint alleges that Lieber hid his financial ties to China’s Thousand Talent program from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense (DOD), as well from as his own university.
At a court hearing on Jan. 28, Marianne Bowler, a judge with the US District Court for Massachusetts, denied bail and ordered Lieber to stay in the custody of the US Marshals Service after US prosecutors argued that he is a “serious flight risk.” His next court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 30.
Lieber is charged with a single felony count for making false statements to US government agencies. The maximum sentence for such a charge is 5 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine, the Department of Justice says. His attorney is Peter K. Levitt of the firm Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar.
Lieber could also face federal debarment, which would prohibit him from receiving federal grant money. Federal agencies may debar people for reasons including a fraud conviction or a “willful violation of a statutory or regulatory provision or requirement applicable to a public agreement or transaction” (2 CFR § 180.800).As I said yesterday on Twitter, I didn't expect to be considering whether or not the chair of the Harvard chemistry department was a flight risk.