Meyya Meyyappan, a 66-year-old senior NASA scientist in California, has just pleaded guilty before a US District Judge in Manhattan. The charges brought forth include making false statements to the FBI, NASA, and the USAO about his involvement in China’s Thousand Talents Program.
China’s Thousand Talents Program was created by the country’s government in an attempt to attract individuals who may be familiar with foreign technology. Meyyappan was supposedly involved with the program despite telling his superiors that he wasn’t. Because of his actions, the NASA scientist now faces up to six years in prison.
Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss had the following to say on the matter:
“Meyya Meyyappan held a trusted position at NASA, with access to valuable intellectual property. In violation of the terms of his employment and relevant laws and regulations, Meyyappan failed to disclose participation in a Chinese government recruitment program, and subsequently lied about it to NASA investigators, FBI agents, and our Office.”
NASA has yet to make any public statements on the matter, but we can be certain that Meyyappan will no longer be working at NASA after this debacle. He is currently scheduled for a June 16 sentencing, according to the plea agreement.