A former University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee professor has signed a plea agreement in a federal wire fraud case after allegedly defrauding students at the university and obtaining over $1.1 million.
Yue Liu, known as Troy Liu, 41, a former professor at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, signed a plea agreement on Feb. 11 after being charged with wire fraud and engaging in an unlawful monetary transaction, according to the Department of Justice. He allegedly received over $1.1 million from the scheme, with the money coming from students and visiting professors.
A Department of Justice press release states that Liu received money from foreign graduate students at the university after making false promises and representations, telling the students that they would have their tuition waived by participating in a program which he controlled.
The program, which did not exist, would also pay students for any expense associated with their education at the university "including tuition and other costs," and Liu allegedly wrote letters to students regarding the program using a fake name and used what looks like a university logo, according to the Department of Justice.
The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee already waived the students' tuition because they were research assistants, according to the press release.
Liu operated the alleged scheme from April 2016 through at least November 2020. He did not use the money received from the students to pay their tuition, but rather used a portion for personal reasons, including paying credit card expenses and funding investment accounts, according to the Department of Justice.
To hide the alleged scheme, Liu created a fraudulent research agreement between the university and a fictitious company based in China, and used a portion of the money to fund the agreement.
A now-deleted faculty profile for Liu, the former professor was employed at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee since at least 2009.
According to the Department of Justice, the wire fraud count holds a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison along with a maximum $250,000 fine, and the unlawful monetary transaction charge holds a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.