Dr. Dong, GenPhar Inc., and Vaxima Inc. Convicted of Fraud in Retrial Before U.S. District Court Judge David Norton
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney William N. Nettles stated today that Dr. Jian Yun Dong, aka John Dong, and the companies which he founded, GenPhar Inc. and Vaxima Inc., were convicted of multiple fraud-based charges following a five day trial in Federal Court that took place June 22 through 25, 2015. The case was submitted for decision to Judge David C. Norton, who issued the verdicts and a written decision today. The case was retried before Judge Norton after a jury hearing the case last November could not reach unanimous verdicts on all counts, although it did find the two corporate defendants guilty of most of the charges. After the two trials, all three defendants have been found guilty of one count of Conspiracy to Commit Grant Fraud, Wire Fraud, Theft of Government Property and Providing False Statements; one count of Theft of Government Funds; and 22 counts of Wire Fraud.
The trial began on November 5, 2014, and concluded on November 14, 2014. Testimony at trial established that federal grant money was obtained by GenPhar and Vaxima for purposes of biodefense research and vaccine development, but was used for other purposes, specifically to construct a commercial office building and pay lobbyists and others who were seeking to secure federal funding for the defendants. Testimony further established that a total of approximately six million dollars were spent on the construction, which included approximately at least three million dollars of improperly diverted grant money.
Mr. Nettles stated, “The real tragedy in this case is that millions of dollars intended for desperately needed vaccine research was diverted into a commercial real estate project. Most of the dedicated and accomplished scientists receiving these grants can be trusted to spend the funds on research, but those that seek to divert the funds to their own benefit need to know that we will pursue charges against them like any other fraudsters.”
The convictions are the result of an investigation conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Eric Klumb and Nathan Williams of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.