July 27, 2016
Two New York-based Research Facilities and Three Principals Suspended from Federal Contracting for Fraud
Effective July 27, 2016, Bin Wen, his wife Peng Zhang, and Bin’s brother Haifang Wen, along with related companies United Environment & Energy, LLC (UEE), and KEW Technologies, Inc. (KEW), were suspended from receiving Federal contracts and grant monies. This suspension action applies governmentwide and was taken by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the affected agencies.
On February 24, 2016, the Wens and Zhang were arrested by Federal agents and charged with conspiracy, false claims, wire fraud, and money laundering related to a $9 million research grant fraud scheme. Bin Wen serves as the chief scientist and vice president of UEE and is also the owner of KEW. Zhang is identified as UEE’s president. Haifang Wen served as an assistant professor at Washington State University (WSU) since 2008 and is the director of the Washington Center for Asphalt Technology.
From 2006 to September 2015, the subjects, through their business entities, allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud DOT, Department of Energy, NSF, and Department of Agriculture of approximately $9 million in research contract and grant funds. Allegations include that they fabricated letters of support and investment by sham investment companies and nonexistent individuals; provided false information in research proposals and in reports regarding business entities, employees, facilities, etc.; and provided false reports and emails regarding how the Federal research funds were expended. The investigation identified fraudulent submissions on a nearly $1 million Federal Highway Administration National Cooperative Highway Research Program contract.
DOT-OIG is working this investigation jointly with the NSF-OIG, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Enforcement Division, Department of Energy-OIG, Department of Agriculture-OIG, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Note: Exclusion actions (suspension and debarments) are frequently for a specified period of time and the System for Award Management (sam.gov) should be consulted to find out of a company or individual is currently excluded.