Georgia Tech professor indicted on visa and wire fraud charges

A Georgia Tech professor has been charged by federal officials with visa and wire fraud charges.

Investigators say 73-year-old Gee-Kung Chang abused the J-1 Visa program in order to arrange for Chinese nationals to come and work in the U.S.

"The defendants allegedly abused the visa program and deceived Georgia Tech to bring researchers into the United States," said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine in a statement.  "The charges presented are the first step toward holding them accountable."

According to information presented in court, Chang worked with 53-year-old Jianjun Yu, who was a research director at a partially state-owned Chinese telecommunications and IT company in New Jersey to allegedly bring Chinese nationals to the U.S. to conduct research for the company.

Officials say Chang used his position as a Georgia Tech professor to obtain and maintain J-1 Visas, which are designed for specific work-and-study-based visitor programs. The visas are not designed for the employment of foreign workers.

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In the paperwork for the visas, the Chinese nationals allegedly said they would be traveling to the country to work with Chang at Georgia Tech, but officials say they instead traveled to New Jersey to work at ZTE USA. In some cases, investigators say they were paid salaries from the Georgia university while working at the New Jersey company.

The J-1 Visa program is for individuals approved to participate in specific work-and-study-based exchange visitor programs with exchange sponsor institutions, like Georgia Tech.  The program is not intended for the general employment of foreign workers in the United States.

"Schemes like this not only steal invaluable opportunities from legitimate, hard-working students it also allows scammers to come to the United States and profit from their misdeeds," said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. "Identifying, arresting, and prosecuting violators is vital to protect the integrity of our nation’s visa program."

Chang, who lives in Smyrna, and Yu were indicted by a federal grand jury on federal charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud on March 18, 2021. 

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