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SIU professor convicted in federal trial

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Mingqing Xiao's attorney plans to challenge the verdict

A jury in Benton has convicted an SIU math professor on federal tax charges.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Mingqing Xiao was convicted Wednesday of Making a False or Fraudulent Statement to the IRS, and Failure to File a Report of a Foreign Bank Account. Two other counts - each for wire fraud - were dismissed, and he was acquitted on one count of making a false statement.

“There are foreign entities that exploit American universities and grant agencies,” said U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft. “To guard against this abuse, the National Science Foundation (NSF) requires grant applicants to disclose any conflicting activities, including foreign activities, as a condition of receiving federal funding. Further, all U.S. citizens are obligated to disclose any foreign bank accounts they may have. The evidence established that Dr. Xiao concealed foreign work and hid more than $100,000 of foreign assets in an account in China, and he was properly prosecuted and held accountable.”

The charges stem from Xiao's work with a university in China, and funding attached to it. Prosecutors say Xiao failed to report the income, the account, and the work with foreign entities.

Xiao's attorney, Ryan Poscablo says the acquittal and dismissal of the other charges prove his client didn't willfully mislead the government. He says they plan to challenge the conviction in the coming days.

"While we respect the jury’s verdict concerning the other counts, we continue to believe that Professor Xiao did not willfully fail to disclose the existence of a foreign bank account, and we intend to challenge the jury’s findings on those counts. We are thankful that those Counts were rejected by the Court and the jury as we believe that they were unjust, improperly motivated, and unsupported by the facts and the law."

Meanwhile, Xiao remains on administrative leave at SIU Carbondale, where he teaches mathematics. A spokesperson for the university says they will follow the guidelines in the collective bargaining agreement between SIU and the Faculty Association - and those guidelines include an opportunity for Xiao to respond to the allegations.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 11.

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