A former Horseheads couple pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy in a scheme to defraud multiple U.S. agencies of funds totaling more than $8 million.
46-year-old Bin “Ben” Wen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, while 45-year old Peng “Jessica” Zhang pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States.
According to the Western District U.S. State Attorney’s Office, the couple participated in a scheme to defraud agencies of federal research funds that were awarded to companies controlled by Wen and Zhang.
The couple has agreed to forfeit nearly $5 million in assets as part of their plea.
Each could pay a fine of $250,000, with Zen facing 20 years in prison and his wife facing five.