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March 3, 2023Detroit, MI, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO Detroit removes Chinese national convicted of defrauding National Institute of Health

DETROIT — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Detroit removed a Chinese national convicted of fraud for lying about his ties to the Chinese government on grant applications. Officials flew Song Guo Zheng, 60, from Detroit International Airport to Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, Feb. 17, 2023, where they turned him over to local authorities.

“Zheng’s actions sought to rob taxpayers for the benefit of a foreign government,” said ERO Detroit acting Field Office Director Matthew Putra. “Our officers’ commitment to public safety includes foreign nationals who present national security risks and seek to defraud the American people.”

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio convicted Zheng on May 14, 2021, of making false statements to federal authorities in an immunology research fraud scheme. The court sentenced him to 37 months imprisonment and over $3 million in restitution. Zheng defrauded the National Institutes of Health by failing to disclose his conflicts of interest or foreign commitments when obtaining grants.

Zheng concealed his participation in a Chinese Talent Plan, a program established by the Chinese government to recruit individuals with knowledge or access to foreign technology intellectual property.

An immigration court ordered Zheng removed from the United States on Dec. 29, 2022.

On Jan. 6, ERO Detroit arrested Zheng after his release from Federal Correctional Institution Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained him and he will remain in custody pending his removal from the United States.

ICE officers make enforcement decisions on a case-by-case basis in a professional and responsible manner, informed by their experience as law enforcement officials and in a way that best protects against the greatest threats to the homeland.

In fiscal year 2022, ERO arrested 46,396 noncitizens with criminal histories. This group had 198,498 associated charges and convictions, including 21,531 assault offenses; 8,164 sex and sexual assault offenses; 5,554 weapons offenses; 1,501 homicide-related offenses; and 1,114 kidnapping offenses.

ERO, a directorate of ICE, upholds U.S. immigration law at, within, and beyond our borders. ERO operations target public safety threats, such as convicted criminal noncitizens and gang members, who have violated our nation's immigration laws, including those who illegally re-enter the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges. ERO deportation officers assigned to Interpol also assist in targeting foreign fugitives for crimes committed abroad at-large in the U.S. ERO manages all aspects of the immigration enforcement process, including identification and arrest, detention, bond management, supervised release, transportation, and removal. Additionally, ERO repatriates noncitizens ordered removed from the U.S. to more than 150 countries worldwide.

Members of the public can report crimes and/or suspicious activity by dialing 866-347-2423 or completing the online tip form.

Learn more about ICE’s mission to increase public safety in your community on Twitter @ERODetroit. The ERO Detroit field office oversees sub-offices in both Michigan and Ohio.