Morgan State Prof. Charged with Defrauding Nat’l Science Foundation of $200K

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In a down economy, it seems more and more Americans are turning to fraud. And more and more are getting caught. The latest allegations of accumulating wealth under false pretenses are aimed at Morgan State University professor Manoj Kumar Jha, 45. Jha received a total of $200,000 in grant money from the National Science Foundation in 2008 and 2009. Which would be fine, if he had actually been conducting any of the research he claimed he was.

The money was to fund the enhancement of “current models used by highway planners to optimize horizontal and vertical highway routes,” but prosecutors say Jha instead preferred to put it towards paying down his mortgage and credit card debt, as well as writing his wife and himself fat checks for work they didn’t do.

Not only that, he allegedly lied all over his NSF grant application — about another professor’s involvement in the project, and about receiving matching funds from a third party.

Jha is currently the head of the school’s transportation engineering graduate program, but if found guilty, could find himself with a hefty prison sentence. He’s charged with five counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and one count of falsification of records, each of which could get him 20 years in prison. So let’s hope this is all one big misunderstanding and those highway planning enhancements are on their way!

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