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Virginia Tech professor charged with conspiracy to defraud US

Yiheng Zhang has a detention hearing Monday afternoon

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ROANOKE, Va. – A Virginia Tech professor is scheduled to appear in federal court Monday morning. 

According to federal court documents, Yiheng Zhang is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States from January 2014 through May 2016. 

Investigators say he is a Virginia Tech professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. He has worked at the university since August 2005. 

There were five grant awards from the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation totaling more than $1.1 million. Investigators say the professor, along with two others, submitted grant requests for work that was already completed in China. Court documents say there's an email from Zhang showing he directed the scheme, which crossed state lines. 

Federal court documents say he did not pay the required 30 percent of the awards to Virginia Tech. Documents say Virginia Tech has only been paid for about 18 percent of the work. 

Zhang has a detention hearing Monday at 2 p.m. He is currently in custody, so the judge will determine if he remains in custody.