A Thousand Talents But Staying Out of Trouble Is Not One of Them

Xiao-Jiang Li, a former Emory University professor, pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return. Li did not declare income he made as a participant in the Thousand Talents Program, which recruits professors and researchers to work for China.

Li was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $35,089 to the IRS. In addition, he was ordered to file legitimate tax returns for the years 2012 – 2018 within the first two months of his probation, and fully cooperate with the IRS in order to make an accurate determination of all taxes, penalties and interest that he owes.

“The defendant thought he could live two separate lives, one here at Emory University and one in China as a Thousand Talents Program participant,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak.

Starting in 2012 and continuing until 2018, while still working at Emory University conducting large animal research to investigate Huntington’s disease, Li also worked at two Chinese universities doing similar research. During that period Li earned at least $500,000 in foreign income that he never reported on his federal tax returns.

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